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Hussey, Hodge in line for Twenty20 call

Source - smh.com.au

Australia's side to play India in this week's Twenty20 blockbuster at the MCG could have a Victorian flavour through the inclusion of David Hussey and Brad Hodge.

The two Bushrangers batsmen could be rewarded for their excellent form in the shortened game this season with a call-up to play Friday before an expected crowd of 80,000.

Hussey, 30, was one of the stand-out players during the domestic Twenty20 competition earlier this month, where his 237 runs at a strike-rate of 153 and handy offspin steered the Bushrangers to a hat-trick of titles.

If selected, Hussey would fulfil a dream of playing for his country, and could do so alongside older brother Mike in the first instance of brothers representing Australia together since Steve and Mark Waugh did so six years ago.

Hodge, 33, also had an excellent domestic series and will be hopeful for a change in fortune after being ruled out of last month's Twenty20 win over New Zealand with a back injury, when he was replaced by Western Australia's Luke Pomersbach.

Australia's selectors have regularly used Twenty20 matches to blood emerging players in the national team, and will announce the squad on Wednesday.

Australia's squad for the triangular one-day series, which starts Monday and also involves Sri Lanka, will also be named on Wednesday.

Captain Ricky Ponting is expected to be passed fit for the match despite sitting out periods of the drawn final Test in Adelaide because of stiffness in his lower back.

The Melbourne Cricket Club expects a crowd of possibly 80,000 to attend the match, which would be easily the biggest attendance of the summer.

The Twenty20 match will also kickstart the farewell carnival for Adam Gilchrist, who will retire from international cricket at the end of the tri-series.

Gilchrist, who on Monday completed his final Test, said he was happy with how his retirement plans had panned out.

He relished the chance to say goodbye to fans during the one-dayers, having got his first opportunity for Australia in limited overs matches.

"To now play the last part of my career playing one-day cricket, I'm just so excited about (that)," he said.

"Glenn McGrath said he went to a World Cup (last year) and he knew there was a finish line, so he relaxed and enjoyed it and he got (named) player of the tournament.

"I'm not making any predictions about how I'll go, and if I keep thinking I've got to entertain I'll be knocked over very easily, so I've just got to get my mind back on it to enjoy this moment and share it with my family, friends and teammates."

Other emerging players likely to be considered for Twenty20 selection are in-form Queensland allrounder Ashley Noffke and Western Australia's Shaun Marsh, the leading run-getter in the domestic competition.

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