Michael Hussey has thrown his weight behind suggestions that Shane Watson open for the Australians during their Ashes warm-up fixture against Somerset beginning in Taunton on Wednesday.
Hussey, who retired after a glittering international career in December last year, also said Ed Cowan had "earned" the right to take the other opener's slot and suggested that David Warner be pushed down the order. "I would like to see Shane Watson go back to the top of the order," Hussey was quoted as saying by The Guardian. "It's where he has had success in international cricket and I know he is keen to do the job. Then you could let (Chris) Rogers, Cowan and (Phil) Hughes fight out the other opening position and No. 3. Ed Cowan probably deserves the spot because as an opener, he's done pretty well and earned the right.
"I think Michael Clarke will be keen to bat at five where he's had most success, and I also think someone like Davey Warner has got the versatility to play down the order. He's very busy and works the spinners well."
Warner, if selected, will head in without much match practice, given that he is suspended till the first Test against England following his pub bust-up with Joe Root, the England batsman, during the Champions Trophy 2013.
Warner's indiscretion was considered the result of deep-rooted problems with the culture of the team under Mickey Arthur, who was sacked as coach and replaced by Darren Lehmann earlier this week. Hussey, however, rejected these suggestions and said the culture was "pretty good" and revealed he had "enjoyed" his time with the team.
He also had praise for Clarke's captaincy, despite a run of poor results. "It was always going to be tough for Michael to take over from someone like Ricky (Ponting) but I think he's done a great job.
"He (Clarke) was very headstrong, he had a very clear path in his mind how he wanted to take the team, a very clear vision...the sign of a good leader. He's got a great cricket brain about him and he's tactically very sound. A lot of the things he does, you think 'What's he thinking?' But there is always a method to what he's trying to do and he often saw things before other people did. My relationship with him was very good. We had some fantastic partnerships throughout my career."
During the long tour which goes on past mid-September, Australia will play England in five Tests, five One-Day Internationals and two Twenty20 Internationals.