With Michael Hussey announcing his intention to quit international cricket just weeks after ex-captain Ricky Ponting retired, Australia could turn to England for a replacement ahead of the Ashes this summer.
The 37-year-old Hussey, at the peak of his powers, made the surprise announcement as Australia prepared for the third Test in a series against Sri Lanka they have already secured by winning the first two matches.
The traditional new year's Test at Sydney, starting on Thursday, will be Hussey's 79th and last, as he follows Ponting, Australia's all-time leading run-scorer, into retirement. Hussey is Australia's 12th highest runscorer, despite not making his Test debut until the age of 30.
Phil Hughes, a 24-year-old top-order batsman, has been earmarked to continue batting at No 3 after replacing Ponting for the Sri Lanka series. Derbyshire's Pakistan-born batsman Usman Khawaja is likely to move into the Test squad as a contender to bat at No 5 or No 6 after being on standby for captain Michael Clarke in recent tests.
Hussey nominated his brother, 35-year-old David Hussey, among the contenders to bat for Australia in India and in the Ashes, and said: "I'm not worried about the team whatsoever. We've got some fantastic candidates to come in – probably too many to name. Maybe David Hussey could get a run – one Hussey out, one Hussey in. History has shown players have come and gone. But the game continues to move forward, and it'll be no different with me."