Mike Hussey will retire from international cricket after the Sydney Test. His last international appearance will be the New Year’s fixture against Sri Lanka at the SCG, starting on Thursday.
He will also stand down from the national one-day and Twenty20 teams. He will play out the remainder of the Australian summer, and will review his availability for the Western Warriors and Perth Scorchers at the end of the 2012-2013 season.
Hussey’s decision to end his career at the end of the Australian summer means the 37-year-old goes out on his own terms and on top, just a fortnight after the emotional retirement of former captain Ricky Ponting.
It also means Australia will be without either of the ageing batsmen for next year’s Ashes.
Just last week, Hussey told Fairfax Media he had found it challenging to balance the demands of his young family with the relentless touring of international cricket.
However, he also said former teammates had told him he would know when his time was up, and insisted he was not ready yet. He changed his mind after the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
But tonight Hussey said despite outstanding recent form, he had decided to leave on his own terms to spend more time with his wife and four children. His youngest child, son Oscar, was born prematurely six months ago.
"I was quite excited to tell them this morning, that I’m not going to go away and play for Australia any more," Hussey told Channel Nine.
"They were happy but not as excited as I thought they were going to be so it was a bit of a shock."
Hussey said he was pleased to leave the game when at the peak of his powers, given his struggles against South Africa in 2008-09 and during the 2009 Ashes series.
"I know how low I felt when my head was on the chopping block and I was probably one innings away from being dropped from the team. It’s not a nice place to be," he said.
"It’s one thing about playing for Australia, there’s always a lot of stress and pressure to perform. But I feel like I’m coming into this last Test match with no pressure whatsoever. I can really go out there and enjoy it.
"It will be nice to be able to sit back when it’s all finished and really reminisce over some fantastic memories and some great wins for Australia."
It is currently Hussey’s job to lead the Australian side in song after winning Test matches, and he said he had a preferred successor in mind.
"I haven’t told him officially yet, so I want to keep it (his successor) to myself until I’ve spoken to him personally," he said.
Hussey has scored 475 runs at 79.16 in a combined five Tests against South Africa and Sri Lanka this summer, with three centuries.
His 6183 runs has him in 12th spot of Australia’s leading run-scorers in Test cricket.
Hussey made a late but stunning entrance to international cricket in 2005 and has played 78 Tests and made 6183 runs.
Cricket Australia chairman Wally Edwards expressed his admiration for Hussey.
Michael has had a fine career - he has been a great player, a great team player and has always been a great person, on and off the field," Mr Edwards said.
"To debut as a Test cricketer at 30 and to go on and achieve what he has done has been absolutely terrific".
CA Chief Executive Officer James Sutherland said Hussey would be a huge loss on and off the field for Australia, and praised his commitment to "meticulous preparation" which have delivered "consistent performances in all forms of the game".
"Michael Hussey has been a vital contributor to many Australian team wins over his very successful Test cricket career.
"An incredibly reliable player and leader within the Australian cricket team, Michael will retire from Test cricket with a record that puts him amongst the very best Australian batsmen of all time.
"Beyond his contributions to team success, he will be remembered for the way he has carried himself on and off the field - and in doing so he has won the respect and admiration of players, officials and fans all around the world.
"In congratulating him on a great Test career, we wish him well and hope to see him stay close to the game after his playing days are over," Mr Sutherland said.
The next batsman in line for Test selection is Usman Khawaja, who is on standby to play at the SCG if captain Michael Clarke fails a fitness battle.
Hussey, 37, made the shock announcement on Channel Nine Saturday news bulletin.
Known as 'Mr Cricket' because of his dedication and love for the game, Hussey currently averages 51.53 runs per innings, after averaging 80 following his first 20 Tests. After a form slump two seasons ago, he has returned to vintage form this summer, scoring centuries against South Africa and Sri Lanka.
After he made 115 not out in the First Test at Hobart two weeks ago, the Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford said he thought Hussey could do what Ricky Ponting could not, and play on into his 40s.
"It's not beyond him ... he is playing the best cricket of his life," Ford told Fox Sports.
"Just looking at how fit and quick he is between the wickets, that's really impressive at his age. Certainly at this stage he looks like he has a few good years ahead of him.
"The physical condition is the amazing thing for me. You would never believe he is that age the way he is with those quick singles. He is out of the blocks so quickly, he puts in a dive if it's a bit tight.
"He is amazing, it's a super effort. It's good for the game to have him around."
- with Will Brodie