London has a tradition ... the Changing of the Guard.

And Australia seems to have adopted this historic stance for their cricket team as they prepare to embark on an epic 12-month journey which will include two Ashes series.

Just to whet the appetites of cricket lovers even more are the retirements of two of this country's finest batsmen, former captain Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey.

Ponting was the first to go, retiring after his 168th Test appearance against South Africa in Perth in November.

'Punter' is one of only three players to have scored 13,000 runs and is the most successful captain of all time, with 48 wins in 77 Tests.

Hussey, who decided the time was ripe to go on Saturday - just days before the third Test against Sri Lanka in Sydney, is another who has chalked up some serious statistics in a seven-year Test career which has spanned 78 Tests and yielded more than 6000 Test runs.

With a Test batting average of 51.41, the 37-year-old West Australian will be sorely missed, especially on the back of Ponting's departure.

Both Hussey, or 'Mr Cricket' as he is affectionately known, and Ponting will be tough acts to follow and not just because Hussey will need to be replaced as the chorus master for the Australia song after a victory.

Phil Hughes has already been given the nod as Ponting's successor and Hussey's replacement, although a little premature, could come from a number of candidates, with Usman Khawaja, Rob Quiney, Hussey' younger brother David, George Bailey and Alex Doolan all in the mix.

But do any of them have what it takes to score serious runs overseas, namely in India and England?

Pakistan-born Khawaja has played six Tests, including the fifth Ashes Test at the SCG in early 2011.

The right-hander also has experience in county cricket, having played for Derbyshire in the same year.

Quiney got a taste of Test cricket in the recent series against South Africa, but his three innings yielded a total of nine runs - including a dreaded pair in the second Test.

And his experience on the sub-continent is limited to the Indian Premier League where he played for the Rajasthan Royals in 2009.

But it is David Hussey whose potential selection intrigues cricket fans.

Hussey has made 64 ODI and 39 T20I appearances for Australia, without ever being able to step up to the longer form of international cricket, despite scoring more than 12,000 first-class runs.

Perhaps his brother's decision will give the national selectors the initiative to give him a go.

Could it be a case of move over Mr Cricket, here comes Mr Cricketer? Only time will tell.

But one thing is for certain, the Australian selectors have some critical decisions to make with the task of recapturing the little urn beginning in little over six months' time.


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