Australia v New Zealand, 2nd Test, Hobart December 8, 2011

Pressure on Hughes to avoid the slip

With plenty of competition in the side for Boxing Day, Phillip Hughes needs runs under his belt to retain his place in the side
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Phillip Hughes is a firm believer that a batsman's technique is irrelevant. All that matters is he scores runs. It sounds fine but is a theory that is unlikely to sway the majority of cricket watchers. Hughes plays with a style so unusual and uninhibited that his successes look streaky and his failures, especially the growing number of catches he sends to the cordon, appear reckless.

Hughes finds it difficult to leave the ball outside off for it is his most prolific scoring zone. Only Guns'n'Roses have a more conspicuous Slash than Hughes. But his greatest strength is also his major weakness. Opposition captains have learnt to stack the cordon with as many slips and gullies as they can and ask their fast bowlers to angle the ball across Hughes without giving him too much width.

Chris Martin claimed Hughes twice using that method at the Gabba. It could be argued he succeeded three times, for Hughes was dropped at slip the ball before he was caught at gully in the second innings. It brought to 19 the number of times Hughes has been caught by the wicketkeeper, slips or gully from 29 dismissals in his Test career. He has never been out lbw to a fast bowler.

These are difficult times for Hughes. He is the most experienced man in Australia's youthful top three, but without a significant score in Hobart he is in danger of losing his place for the first Test against India on Boxing Day, when Shane Watson and Shaun Marsh are expected to return. Usman Khawaja's reliability makes him an appealing option, while David Warner can overtake Hughes with a big innings at Bellerive.

Hughes was trusted with the opening role when Simon Katich was removed from Australia's side. Since then, Hughes has averaged 30.54. His successes in that period included 88 against South Africa in Johannesburg, when 67 of his runs came through the off side as the bowlers allowed him too much width. When Vernon Philander finally strangled him with a tighter line, Hughes was caught at slip.

His work ethic is not in question. At Bellerive on Thursday, Australia had an optional training session. Hughes spent a long while in the nets, working on his problem area. He was one of only three batsmen who turned up to an optional session in Cape Town after Australia's heavy defeat last month.

"Hughesy has been working hard for the past couple of years . . . on his technique and on the area of his game that need to improve, like all of us," the captain Michael Clarke said. "I've made it very clear to him that I think I've been caught in slips as many times as any player.

"It's an area of a lot of people's game that you need to continue to work on, especially when the ball is moving. I've always loved his work ethic. You guys continue to see him in the nets, he trains as hard as anyone and he wants to get better."

But life won't be any easier for Hughes on the first day in Hobart if Australia bat first. On match eve, the pitch sported so much grass that it looked more like a lawn-bowling green than a cricket wicket. Clearly it had not yet had its end-of-November shave.

However, Hughes has a strong record at Bellerive, where he averages 74.63 from six first-class matches. By comparison, his Gabba average is 28.50. After the Brisbane Test, the New Zealand captain Ross Taylor said he'd be very happy if Australia retained Hughes for Hobart, a comment he now says was tongue-in-cheek.

"He's a world-class opener," Taylor said ahead of the second Test. "He's still got three hundreds for Australia and a few fifties. He's scored runs against us in the past - and scored more runs than I did in the last game - so I'm sure he'll be fine."

Despite his generous comments, Taylor is sure to be confident that New Zealand can contain Hughes again. The main question is how many slips and gullies to use.

As Hughes showed in Brisbane when he was dropped one ball and caught the next, he won't stop playing the way he knows. It's a method that brought him 17 first-class centuries before his 23rd birthday. But unless it brings him runs in this match, he could be spending Christmas - and Boxing Day - at home.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mrmonty on December 9, 2011, 22:16 GMT

    A batsman technique may be irrelevant according to Hughes, but temperament matters the most at this level. Case in point Gilchrist and Sehwag.

  • on December 9, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    if he was from any other state in australia he would have been axed 10 tests ago, thankfully now there are some level headed selectors there meaning he will be sent back to shield level were he belongs,

  • on December 9, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    I'm a little puzzled at the number of people who've claimed Hughes is a future star... seems like the poorer he performs the better they believe he's going to be. Perhaps we should consider that a guy with a weak technique and a long list of failures may not be part of the future of Australian cricket.

  • hyclass on December 9, 2011, 9:25 GMT

    In stark contrast to the point this article is trying to make,of the 6 Test innings in his 09 debut series in SA in which he made, 0 & 75, 115 & 160, 33 & 32, only his 1st was caught behind the wicket from a quick. That had more to do with extreme nerves,which he quickly dispelled in the 2nd innings.Of those innings,he was dismissed 3 times attacking Harris,the left arm spinner. I highlight this,because it is far more indicative of his game at 1st class level and before it was tampered with. He was not an edger before his grip,stance and entire game were altered by so called coaches.The balls which are dismissing Hughes now are the same ones every opening bowler tries to bowl to left handers.The Youtube SA 09 shows Steyn & Co using the same tactics. I expect the energy that is being used on here to undermine Hughes credentials,to be used for proper investigation,not just watching the screen and repeating what others have said.The evidence is freely available for those who search it out

  • on December 9, 2011, 9:18 GMT

    Hughes seems to be hit and miss and presently more of a miss. His technique is fairly suspect and while he may still score heavily against certain types of opposition, like the Indians maybe, I still think he needs to spend a summer in England and work on his technique.Today with world cricket being the way it is, people with suspect techniques get found out easily.Martin certainly isn't the greatest fast bowler going round, but if he can get Hughes so regularly and so consistently then clearly Hughes days are numbered. Surely Australia has a better opener and I don"t mean Watson. I think Australia should find someone who will work for a couple of years even as someone from the younger brigade works out.I am sure Marsh is a better bet. In any case with Hughes the no 3 and no 4 are almost openers !I think it is important for the selectors to figure out the future instead of worrying about Hughes. He is a non starter. Watching him is agony ! sridhar

  • Andrew202 on December 9, 2011, 9:10 GMT

    It might be possible the Phil Hughes is nothing more than a good domestic player and that's it. Yep, he started off well in test cricket but now that everyone's got him worked out I'm not so sure he's the future star we keep hearing about. Better players than Phil Hughes have never even got to play for Australia.

  • hyclass on December 9, 2011, 9:05 GMT

    I understand people calling for Hughes head.His batting doesnt instill confidence at this point. I urge people to remember that his game has been forcibly altered.If hed been left to play his own game,this never would have happened.Nielsen was the architect & Langer has made things worse. His grip,trigger movement to leg of his back foot and misdirection on playing in the v have robbed Australia of a prodigy.He should cut 1st ball if thats his game. He should cover drive 1st ball if thats his game.A batsman needs only an attacking plan,a defensive plan and the concentration,courage and skill to carry it out.Technique is irrelevent in that his game proved brilliant until someone altered it,both at 1st class level on 4 continents and in his early Tests against an 1100 wicket Test attack.This kid has been bashed from pillar to post.He is guilty of following the coaches instructions.The coach never took responsibility.Id love to see Australians get behind him.In the end,we will be rewarded

  • hyclass on December 9, 2011, 8:54 GMT

    By the time Hughes arrived for the Eng Lions game in 09,he had 1637 runs at 96 in his previous 10 games with 8 100s,2 in 1 Test.He had been the Shield player of the year,Steve Waugh Medallist & Bradman Medallist and was in Wisden.Both his Test & 1st class averages were over 60.At that point,I unhesitatingly classed him the best since Bradman & the best offside player ive seen.Youtube videos,Hughes 115 v SA & 160 v SA show the real Hughes before his game was forcibly altered.So what changed? His technique did. Not on its own. He was only 20 then & a country town kid.Nielsen,whose obtuse & toxic behaviour was highlighted on in a national paper by a 36 Y.O.McGain,forced unworkable changes.His grip was changed,a point commented on by Benaud after todays dismissal.The face is now open pushing balls to slip instead of down the ground or through cover.His body position & back foot play were altered.Langer,after 18 months is making it far worse.Hughes must fix his grip & forget all advice.

  • unregisteredalien on December 9, 2011, 8:07 GMT

    Thanks for coming Phil. Maybe see you again in a couple of years.

  • on December 9, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    Phil Hughes has revealed he has grand plans to emulate Sehwag - but look how drastically different the fortunes of these two gentlemen are, on the 8th of December, 2011.

  • mrmonty on December 9, 2011, 22:16 GMT

    A batsman technique may be irrelevant according to Hughes, but temperament matters the most at this level. Case in point Gilchrist and Sehwag.

  • on December 9, 2011, 11:53 GMT

    if he was from any other state in australia he would have been axed 10 tests ago, thankfully now there are some level headed selectors there meaning he will be sent back to shield level were he belongs,

  • on December 9, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    I'm a little puzzled at the number of people who've claimed Hughes is a future star... seems like the poorer he performs the better they believe he's going to be. Perhaps we should consider that a guy with a weak technique and a long list of failures may not be part of the future of Australian cricket.

  • hyclass on December 9, 2011, 9:25 GMT

    In stark contrast to the point this article is trying to make,of the 6 Test innings in his 09 debut series in SA in which he made, 0 & 75, 115 & 160, 33 & 32, only his 1st was caught behind the wicket from a quick. That had more to do with extreme nerves,which he quickly dispelled in the 2nd innings.Of those innings,he was dismissed 3 times attacking Harris,the left arm spinner. I highlight this,because it is far more indicative of his game at 1st class level and before it was tampered with. He was not an edger before his grip,stance and entire game were altered by so called coaches.The balls which are dismissing Hughes now are the same ones every opening bowler tries to bowl to left handers.The Youtube SA 09 shows Steyn & Co using the same tactics. I expect the energy that is being used on here to undermine Hughes credentials,to be used for proper investigation,not just watching the screen and repeating what others have said.The evidence is freely available for those who search it out

  • on December 9, 2011, 9:18 GMT

    Hughes seems to be hit and miss and presently more of a miss. His technique is fairly suspect and while he may still score heavily against certain types of opposition, like the Indians maybe, I still think he needs to spend a summer in England and work on his technique.Today with world cricket being the way it is, people with suspect techniques get found out easily.Martin certainly isn't the greatest fast bowler going round, but if he can get Hughes so regularly and so consistently then clearly Hughes days are numbered. Surely Australia has a better opener and I don"t mean Watson. I think Australia should find someone who will work for a couple of years even as someone from the younger brigade works out.I am sure Marsh is a better bet. In any case with Hughes the no 3 and no 4 are almost openers !I think it is important for the selectors to figure out the future instead of worrying about Hughes. He is a non starter. Watching him is agony ! sridhar

  • Andrew202 on December 9, 2011, 9:10 GMT

    It might be possible the Phil Hughes is nothing more than a good domestic player and that's it. Yep, he started off well in test cricket but now that everyone's got him worked out I'm not so sure he's the future star we keep hearing about. Better players than Phil Hughes have never even got to play for Australia.

  • hyclass on December 9, 2011, 9:05 GMT

    I understand people calling for Hughes head.His batting doesnt instill confidence at this point. I urge people to remember that his game has been forcibly altered.If hed been left to play his own game,this never would have happened.Nielsen was the architect & Langer has made things worse. His grip,trigger movement to leg of his back foot and misdirection on playing in the v have robbed Australia of a prodigy.He should cut 1st ball if thats his game. He should cover drive 1st ball if thats his game.A batsman needs only an attacking plan,a defensive plan and the concentration,courage and skill to carry it out.Technique is irrelevent in that his game proved brilliant until someone altered it,both at 1st class level on 4 continents and in his early Tests against an 1100 wicket Test attack.This kid has been bashed from pillar to post.He is guilty of following the coaches instructions.The coach never took responsibility.Id love to see Australians get behind him.In the end,we will be rewarded

  • hyclass on December 9, 2011, 8:54 GMT

    By the time Hughes arrived for the Eng Lions game in 09,he had 1637 runs at 96 in his previous 10 games with 8 100s,2 in 1 Test.He had been the Shield player of the year,Steve Waugh Medallist & Bradman Medallist and was in Wisden.Both his Test & 1st class averages were over 60.At that point,I unhesitatingly classed him the best since Bradman & the best offside player ive seen.Youtube videos,Hughes 115 v SA & 160 v SA show the real Hughes before his game was forcibly altered.So what changed? His technique did. Not on its own. He was only 20 then & a country town kid.Nielsen,whose obtuse & toxic behaviour was highlighted on in a national paper by a 36 Y.O.McGain,forced unworkable changes.His grip was changed,a point commented on by Benaud after todays dismissal.The face is now open pushing balls to slip instead of down the ground or through cover.His body position & back foot play were altered.Langer,after 18 months is making it far worse.Hughes must fix his grip & forget all advice.

  • unregisteredalien on December 9, 2011, 8:07 GMT

    Thanks for coming Phil. Maybe see you again in a couple of years.

  • on December 9, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    Phil Hughes has revealed he has grand plans to emulate Sehwag - but look how drastically different the fortunes of these two gentlemen are, on the 8th of December, 2011.

  • Jayco on December 9, 2011, 6:51 GMT

    Hey Brydon, quick note. You started by saying Hughes thinks technique is irrelevant. Later, you spent a few paragraphs describing how much effort Hughes is putting into his technique in the nets. Does this sound right to you?

  • RandyOZ on December 9, 2011, 6:31 GMT

    Hughes may have to be dropped if he again fails in the second innings. The fact is though he is a future star and just needs to go back to shield cricket and hone his skills a bit more. We have more than enough backup for him including the might Dan Christian, who is taking attacks apart at the moment. 2nd best allrounder behind Watto!

  • on December 9, 2011, 6:23 GMT

    Perhaps a few years in the wilderness of first class cricket? It served Hayden and Langer well. I hope Warner does well. I am not the biggest fan of T20, but Warner's constantly shown that he's more than a biffer of the cricket ball. I hope he makes the adjustment to test cricket.

  • kensohatter on December 9, 2011, 5:50 GMT

    Technique is not a problem if you are scoring runs it only gets attention when you are consistently getting out in the same fashion for scores that average out to be at an unacceptable level for international standards. Shiv Chanderpaul is probably has the most incorrect stance in test cricket, Sehwag is more aggressive than most at test level yet both these batsmen score runs so their technique is never question. The issue here is that Hughes is not scoring runs on his home tracks against probably the weakest bowling attack in world cricket. We could carry a guy like Hughes a few years ago (like india could afford to at the start of Sehwags career) but in this rebuilding phase we cant afford an unstable opener putting pressure on Khawaja, Warner, Marsh etc.

  • on December 9, 2011, 5:39 GMT

    Arguments on both sides aplenty. The fact of the matter is there are batsmen out there who don't have the best techniques, but still score runs. I think the deciding factor really has to be performance - cases in point V. Sehwag's double century in last night's game or Simon Katich's numerous contributions as an opener. Both players mentioned don't have the best techniques, but have put runs on the board. The problem Hughes has is he is doing neither of demonstrating good technique or scoring runs. Given that, it seems difficult to argue a case for him to maintain a spot, especially if there are other players who are satisfying one or both of these requirements. The new board of Aus cricket has already said they want to adopt a more performance-based selection approach. By this token, Hughes should be left out and someone else tried (unless of course they think he can be useful down the order, in which case they try that first).

  • on December 9, 2011, 5:32 GMT

    Is Hughes the aussie version of our Mark Ramprakash....very very talented player on the domestic scene but just seems to have a brain-fade and neither the nous or application when playing Test matches? However, could well be the answer to the Aussie middle-order problems when Ponting and Hussey go, get a good run, score runs when the pressure is off and then move back up the order. Makes the removal of Katich look an even dumber move than previously now as the aussies cannot rely on any of the openers to hang around and curb the natural aggresive instincts.

  • on December 9, 2011, 5:22 GMT

    The thing I object to is that Simon Katich is being dragged over the coals for call it like it is, while this guy is doing little more than giving the Kiwi's Slips cordone Catching Practice. Technique doesn't have to be employed when you are hitting the ball with the middle of the bat ie. Sewag, Tendulakar, Bradman !!! It becomes very important when you are leaving your country with 9 wickets left and only 10 on the board.

  • on December 9, 2011, 4:51 GMT

    The issue with Hughes is that when first picked, it was stated his almost farcical technique didn't matter, because it netted him lots of runs. And fair enough, because at the end of the day you win by scoring more runs, not from looking pretty at the wicket.

    But if run scoring is your argument, then you need to score runs. From his recall against England until now, he's averaged 24, and on only 4 out of 18 occasions has he passed 30, and so could reasonably be said to have seen off the new ball. It's a level of success that the minnows wouldn't accept.

    So we're at a batsman who looks awkward and fails most times he comes out to bat. And that's a pretty grim state of affairs.

  • getaclue on December 9, 2011, 4:50 GMT

    @youngkeepersdad. Great call, get Rogers in, pick the best 11 regardless of age. Who gives a toss about the next Ashes, lets win this series, then the next, then the one after that by picking the best 11 for each match.

  • pikk0n on December 9, 2011, 4:47 GMT

    Huge fan of Hughes as you'd know from my previous comment but after seeing his dismissal, something is definitely not right up there. He needs time off test cricket. Dropping him now would be the best thing for him. Get his mind in the right spot and 2 years down the track there will definitely be a spot in the Aus test team for him. Clarke himself benefitted from being out of the Aus team with less pressure on him.

  • on December 9, 2011, 4:12 GMT

    Ed Cowan ... that is all.

  • Johnny_129 on December 9, 2011, 3:22 GMT

    I don't understand the selectors continued preference for Hughes - if a batsman has a solid technique but is not scoring runs then it would be okay to persist with him...in the hope that his technique will hold him in good stead. Conversely, if a batsman has a dodgy/ weak technique yet is scoring loads of runs then it would be okay to persist with him...as you can't argue against runs regardless of how they are achieved. Hughes, however, has neither a solid technique nor tons of runs!! Selectors would do well to move Khawaja up in the packing order and give Warner a few chances to prove himself.

  • Meety on December 9, 2011, 1:59 GMT

    @Gordo85 - re: Rogers, yeah I'd certainly have a look at him, I think he had a big setback when he was injured a year or so ago, & sort of faded from selectors minds. The one test comparison with Warner isn't fair, as Rogers was in & out in a different "era". Warner being tagged a short form specialist is not without base, but he has a great FC average & it has been on the up. I think he is a lot better than people think - how good? Dunno. Re: Siddle - he has grown on me, even during the Ashes. He is a trier, ultimately he is not in the top 6 pacers Oz have, but the aspects he brings to the table are just want a captain wants - Heart. I do believe he will be dwarfed by Cutting, Cummins, & Coulter-Nile etc - but funnily enough - there all injured & he is not!

  • pikk0n on December 9, 2011, 1:54 GMT

    The author of this article forgot to mention the century Hughes scored in SL.... I guess it's something everyone forgets when it comes to Hughes. I like Hughes' simplistic approach but surely he's young enough to learn a defensive shot for the balls outside off or to leave them. Also, it's not too late for him to play the pull shot. If he can do 3 of these, he'll be one of the most destructive batsmen around in the years to come. It'll be a shame to lose a player of Hughes' talent.

  • Mad_Hamish on December 9, 2011, 1:02 GMT

    A couple of things a) if people actually watched the 88 against RSA he nicked one in the 40s (iirc) and was given not out b) his biggest problem isn't (generally) the cut. It's the number of times he's not either forwards or back. The only time he really gets far forwards is when he's driving a wide ball, the rest of the time he's half forwards at best and that gives the bowler to much chance to get the ball to move. One of the dismissals in RSA was particularly bad, he'd edged forwards and then he was jumping backwards and nicked the ball about level with the crease line with both feet in the air against a relatively full ball...

  • on December 8, 2011, 23:14 GMT

    the reason for declining Aussies is that their average age of a team is dropped significantly , those deserving their chances are given chances likes of chiris rogers ,phil jaquaes & simon katich which are dropped in thier prime

  • ygkd on December 8, 2011, 20:49 GMT

    I think Hughes is being singled out a little here. I don't see a lot of top-line techniques in the younger players coming through. Hughes' problem is that a side can carry someone like him at 6, but not as an opener. Picking him against NZ is no great decision - unfortunately the Kiwis aren't any better (anyone looked closely at Williamson for example)? Personally, I'd have been picking older types like Rogers, even it's just for a few years. The way some of these youngsters are going, they won't last any longer than that anyway, so the mantra of youth above all seems pretty pointless.

  • Nerk on December 8, 2011, 20:41 GMT

    Hughes is quite right, technique isn't everything. Simon Katich hasn't got a textbook technique, and he has been Australia's most consistant batsman over the last few years. But temperament is everything. Hughes cant just say "I cut the ball at first class level and get lots of runs" because test matches are different. It is, as the name suggests, a test. And Hughes is failing that test. He has to learn not to put the cut in the cupboard, as some suggest, but learn which balls to play at and which ones to let go. It doesn't mean a change in technique, but discipline, which is something he is lacking. As for Warner, maybe some people should give him a chance before judging.

  • Peterincanada on December 8, 2011, 16:42 GMT

    I agree with Trapper and Kangaroo Bar. He tends to try to do too much too soon. Trying to cut early in the innings against a packed slip cordon is suicidal. He should play straight where there are a lot of gaps until the shine goes. Herbert Sutcliffe said that one should never cut or hook until he has 30 runs. By that time he knows the nature of the pitch.

  • on December 8, 2011, 11:20 GMT

    Aussie openers are a weak link.After Hayden and Langer,Australia are yet to find technically sound and reliable openers!

  • on December 8, 2011, 11:19 GMT

    Hughes has proved he dosn't have the disipline to deal with the new ball on a green top, but he would make a lot of runs batting at 4 or 5. Khawaja should open, he has the disipline not to get sucked into slashing at everything outside off, just occupy the crease and take the gloss of the new ball and improve our chances of being none for at lunch.

  • Bone101 on December 8, 2011, 11:14 GMT

    I think Hughes and Warner will prove a lot of people wrong in years to come. They are both seriously talented and as Barnsey444 points out above, its hardly surprising when a young batsmen is inconsistent. I think the selectors have done the right thing by keeping a winning team together - and giving these boys another go. It's in Australia's long term interest to stick with these blokes and give them the support they need.

  • FatBoysCanBat on December 8, 2011, 11:00 GMT

    I don't quite understand everyone calling for Hughes to be dropped. He scored a very hundred against Sri Lanka a couple months ago and a very good 80 odd against the South Africans two matches ago which helped set up that win. He still has a lot to offer Australian cricket. Many batsmen who have turned out to be greats of the game did not start their careers as good as what Hughes has and while that technical deficiency against the ball angling across will most likely always be there he has the natural ability to limit that deficiency.

  • Matt. on December 8, 2011, 9:31 GMT

    cannot believe this guy is getting another chance. it doesn't matter if he scores a hundred at hobart, how can you trust him? you need consistency from openers

  • on December 8, 2011, 9:10 GMT

    A good technique is very relevant because it dierectly correlates with being able to spend time at the crease and play good bowling. Without a good technique u cant be consistent. Hughes is very very vulnerable early in the innings, more so then other batsman

  • Rosey86 on December 8, 2011, 9:02 GMT

    I just wish hughes would learn to pull the ball. If he had a decent pull shot, people would stop bowling an uncomfortable length at his body. Yes he would be playing across the line, but i think it is worth it. A full pull shots to the boundary, in the manner Hussey does from time to time, will make the bowlers pitch a little wider and Hughes preferred zone. The kid has talent. If he is dropped, he will go back to Shield, score a bucket load of runs as he always has and be knocking on the selectors door again. I have no issue with his technique, he just needs to be different in his approach to those rising deliveries, take the bowlers on in a zone they don't expect him too

  • Full-Blooded-Wallop on December 8, 2011, 8:04 GMT

    Warner? hughes? khwaja? :O See,Indian cricket, a far better batsman like Ravindra jadeja who just hit a 314 is miles away from a test spot.What has happened to the legacy of good batsmen..2012 is on the cards

  • Gordo85 on December 8, 2011, 7:48 GMT

    David Warner is under pressure as well. He failed pretty much in the first test and if he fails again it could be good night nurse. Poor Christ Rogers got dropped after just one Test match and I was thinking the same should happen here with David Warner. To me Steve Smith and David Warner tend to have some things in common and they are only really good at shorter forms of the game due to way too much Twenty/20 matches and such which in the end ends up making your technique not very good when it comes to bating in Test matches. Good old Warner should have played about another 15 matches before getting a Test cap. I must say though I am very happy with Mickey Arthur so far. And it was great to see Peter Siddle retain his spot in the team I don't understand why so many people on here don't like him and never want him to play Test cricket again.

  • unregisteredalien on December 8, 2011, 7:37 GMT

    Time for some of those tough decisions and adult conversations, selectors. No more papering over the cracks and no more closing ranks to protect underperforming incumbents. The Australian public deserves better than to be patronised in that manner any longer. If he ain't good enough, drop him, and pick the best current domestic performer. We should accept nothing less.

  • Barnesy4444 on December 8, 2011, 7:34 GMT

    A young batsmen is a little inconsistent, hardly a new issue is it? He has scored one century and an 88 in his last 4 tests. As I've said before: after 30 innings Hughes has a very similar record to a young Ponting, Clarke, Sehwag and a young Tendulkar! This is despite being mucked around by selectors, dropped in 2009 when in form and picked in 2010 out of form. Hughes can be a run machine and will become more consistent and see off the new ball more often with experience.

  • Ahsan_Shere on December 8, 2011, 7:17 GMT

    CA will be in hot waters because David Warner is only a T20 sort of guy & Phil Hughes won't become a Justin Langer or Mathew Hayden or even Shane Watson so they'll face difficulties in cementing an opener with Shane Watson. Had they played Simon Katich since Hayden's retirement till early 2013 they could find a sound opening batsman, then they'll try Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh or even Chris Rogers or Phil Jacques but I fear 2012 is not good for Australian batting starts.

  • TheLoneStranger on December 8, 2011, 7:05 GMT

    Hughes will soon learn, when he is dropped again because of poor technique, that technique is essential to survive at the top for a long time, especially as an opener. He should have been dropped for this match, but the new selectors appear to have no more courage or insight than the last lot. I'll say it again: Katich should never have been dropped and should have been recalled by the new selection panel, although at the moment his form doesn't warrant it. However, I wonder what will happen if he strings two or three big scores together and the national team has a hole at the top of the order?

  • Trapper439 on December 8, 2011, 6:54 GMT

    It's a bit of a stretch to laud Khawaja's "reliability", as he's only averaging 33 after 5 Tests. Apart from the 65 he scored in the 2nd innings of the win in Jo'burg he's looked overly tentative and uncomfortable in all of his Test innings. Hopefully after finally showing the natural talent that got him into the Test team in the first place Khawaja will feel more at ease at this level. Hughes on the other hand needs to learn to get his eye in and get used to the bounce of the pitch before he tries to open up. I'd be quite happy to see him wait until the shine is off the new ball before he even thinks about starting to play his shots. If he's 5-10 not out after 20 overs then I'd back him to get a 50. There is undeniable talent there, he just needs to be patient and adjust to the conditions.

  • dsig3 on December 8, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    Chris Martin is a difficult bowler for Hughes to face. Martin is a very underrated bowler in my opinion. Anyway, Hughes will smash at least a half century. You cannot tempt the fates as much as Taylor has and not expect some karmic justice to head your way. Ross can back track till the sheep come home it doesnt change a thing.

  • AidanFX on December 8, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    When Hughes first burst on the scene it was exciting; the guy had the runs (1st class) to deserve his spot and for once the selectors went against the grain and selected a guy in his low 20s to debut. I admit in heign site Hughes prob should not have been selected in the Ashes in Aus whilst out of form in domestic cricket - but gee this guy was one of the best prospects in Aus cricket since the greats had and were continuing to retire. Too many are responsible for messing with his head - the guy has some potential weaknesses in his game so does ever class player; those are always accentuated when player has a bad trot. If he fails in Hobart he will near certainly need to be dropped; and maybe making runs at domestic level will do him good - I hope he makes runs. I still think he is a great prospect and I refuse to forget his two centuries in the one Test in SA (against a quality attack).

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  • AidanFX on December 8, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    When Hughes first burst on the scene it was exciting; the guy had the runs (1st class) to deserve his spot and for once the selectors went against the grain and selected a guy in his low 20s to debut. I admit in heign site Hughes prob should not have been selected in the Ashes in Aus whilst out of form in domestic cricket - but gee this guy was one of the best prospects in Aus cricket since the greats had and were continuing to retire. Too many are responsible for messing with his head - the guy has some potential weaknesses in his game so does ever class player; those are always accentuated when player has a bad trot. If he fails in Hobart he will near certainly need to be dropped; and maybe making runs at domestic level will do him good - I hope he makes runs. I still think he is a great prospect and I refuse to forget his two centuries in the one Test in SA (against a quality attack).

  • dsig3 on December 8, 2011, 6:25 GMT

    Chris Martin is a difficult bowler for Hughes to face. Martin is a very underrated bowler in my opinion. Anyway, Hughes will smash at least a half century. You cannot tempt the fates as much as Taylor has and not expect some karmic justice to head your way. Ross can back track till the sheep come home it doesnt change a thing.

  • Trapper439 on December 8, 2011, 6:54 GMT

    It's a bit of a stretch to laud Khawaja's "reliability", as he's only averaging 33 after 5 Tests. Apart from the 65 he scored in the 2nd innings of the win in Jo'burg he's looked overly tentative and uncomfortable in all of his Test innings. Hopefully after finally showing the natural talent that got him into the Test team in the first place Khawaja will feel more at ease at this level. Hughes on the other hand needs to learn to get his eye in and get used to the bounce of the pitch before he tries to open up. I'd be quite happy to see him wait until the shine is off the new ball before he even thinks about starting to play his shots. If he's 5-10 not out after 20 overs then I'd back him to get a 50. There is undeniable talent there, he just needs to be patient and adjust to the conditions.

  • TheLoneStranger on December 8, 2011, 7:05 GMT

    Hughes will soon learn, when he is dropped again because of poor technique, that technique is essential to survive at the top for a long time, especially as an opener. He should have been dropped for this match, but the new selectors appear to have no more courage or insight than the last lot. I'll say it again: Katich should never have been dropped and should have been recalled by the new selection panel, although at the moment his form doesn't warrant it. However, I wonder what will happen if he strings two or three big scores together and the national team has a hole at the top of the order?

  • Ahsan_Shere on December 8, 2011, 7:17 GMT

    CA will be in hot waters because David Warner is only a T20 sort of guy & Phil Hughes won't become a Justin Langer or Mathew Hayden or even Shane Watson so they'll face difficulties in cementing an opener with Shane Watson. Had they played Simon Katich since Hayden's retirement till early 2013 they could find a sound opening batsman, then they'll try Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh or even Chris Rogers or Phil Jacques but I fear 2012 is not good for Australian batting starts.

  • Barnesy4444 on December 8, 2011, 7:34 GMT

    A young batsmen is a little inconsistent, hardly a new issue is it? He has scored one century and an 88 in his last 4 tests. As I've said before: after 30 innings Hughes has a very similar record to a young Ponting, Clarke, Sehwag and a young Tendulkar! This is despite being mucked around by selectors, dropped in 2009 when in form and picked in 2010 out of form. Hughes can be a run machine and will become more consistent and see off the new ball more often with experience.

  • unregisteredalien on December 8, 2011, 7:37 GMT

    Time for some of those tough decisions and adult conversations, selectors. No more papering over the cracks and no more closing ranks to protect underperforming incumbents. The Australian public deserves better than to be patronised in that manner any longer. If he ain't good enough, drop him, and pick the best current domestic performer. We should accept nothing less.

  • Gordo85 on December 8, 2011, 7:48 GMT

    David Warner is under pressure as well. He failed pretty much in the first test and if he fails again it could be good night nurse. Poor Christ Rogers got dropped after just one Test match and I was thinking the same should happen here with David Warner. To me Steve Smith and David Warner tend to have some things in common and they are only really good at shorter forms of the game due to way too much Twenty/20 matches and such which in the end ends up making your technique not very good when it comes to bating in Test matches. Good old Warner should have played about another 15 matches before getting a Test cap. I must say though I am very happy with Mickey Arthur so far. And it was great to see Peter Siddle retain his spot in the team I don't understand why so many people on here don't like him and never want him to play Test cricket again.

  • Full-Blooded-Wallop on December 8, 2011, 8:04 GMT

    Warner? hughes? khwaja? :O See,Indian cricket, a far better batsman like Ravindra jadeja who just hit a 314 is miles away from a test spot.What has happened to the legacy of good batsmen..2012 is on the cards

  • Rosey86 on December 8, 2011, 9:02 GMT

    I just wish hughes would learn to pull the ball. If he had a decent pull shot, people would stop bowling an uncomfortable length at his body. Yes he would be playing across the line, but i think it is worth it. A full pull shots to the boundary, in the manner Hussey does from time to time, will make the bowlers pitch a little wider and Hughes preferred zone. The kid has talent. If he is dropped, he will go back to Shield, score a bucket load of runs as he always has and be knocking on the selectors door again. I have no issue with his technique, he just needs to be different in his approach to those rising deliveries, take the bowlers on in a zone they don't expect him too