Sri Lanka in Australia, 2012-13

Hughes chosen to replace Ponting

Daniel Brettig

December 6, 2012

Comments: 176 | Text size: A | A

Phillip Hughes ducks a short one, Australia v New Zealand, second Test, Hobart, 3rd day, December 11 2011
John Inverarity on Phillip Hughes: "We did feel that throwing him into the Tests against the world No. 1 with their attack was probably not the ideal set of circumstances for him" © AFP
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Players/Officials: Phillip Hughes
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Phillip Hughes has been granted the Test match equivalent of a soft landing, chosen to fill the gulf left by the retired Ricky Ponting in Australia's top order against Sri Lanka after the selectors preferred to spare him the rigours of the recently completed series against South Africa.

When Shane Watson's calf troubles opened up a batting vacancy ahead of the South Africa Tests, the panel headed by the national selector John Inverarity had chosen Rob Quiney as a mature and ready-made option for No. 3.

However Quiney's elevation was brief, and the more modest opposition expected from Sri Lanka has been deemed more suitable as the best circumstance in which to recall Hughes, a little more than a year after he was dropped, coincidentally after last year's Hobart Test against New Zealand.

Australia Test squad

  • Michael Clarke (capt), Shane Watson, Ed Cowan, Ben Hilfenhaus, Phillip Hughes, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Lyon, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade (wk), David Warner

Speaking with typical candour as he named the Australian squad for the Hobart Test, the national selector John Inverarity said Hughes had always been seen as a long-term part of the national team's planning, and that there had been a desire not to expose him to South Africa' bowlers at the top level while he continued to build confidence with South Australia.

"We felt that for the South African series that Quiney was the right man," Inverarity said. "We look to Phil Hughes to be one of our players of the future, a real long-term player, so when we were considering the South African series we were very keen for Phil Hughes to come in when his form was absolutely right, and the right circumstances for him.

"We did feel that throwing him into the Tests against the world No. 1 with their attack was probably not the ideal set of circumstances for him, and we feel the time now is absolutely right for him. We needed to be convinced that his game was absolutely cherry ripe. It was just recently at the MCG that he got a big hundred [158 for SA v Victoria] and I think that was further proof that he's in absolutely the right place.

"Rob Quiney is a wonderful man, I think he was very grateful for the opportunity, and who knows what's round the corner. He's not one to hold grudges or think he's hard done by, I think he was very grateful for the opportunity and looks forward to the time when he might get an opportunity again."

Since he was caught Guptill, bowled Martin in four consecutive innings against New Zealand, Hughes has spent countless hours refining his technique and clarifying his mental approach. Inverarity had said earlier this year that the selectors were looking for evidence of development from both Hughes and Usman Khawaja, another contender for the space vacated by Ponting, and the panel has concluded that at 24 Hughes has made the most rapid strides.

"If you watched him closely 12 months ago and now, his scoring range is very different," Inverarity said. "He's scoring through the leg side off his pads much better, driving on the on-side, and pulling short balls, which wasn't the case 12 months ago. So I think he's developed his game, and it is much harder for bowlers now in a sense to corner him.

"Last year when he was dropped from the Test team he decided not to play BBL and to work on his technique an get himself into a better space. We didn't select him for the Australia A team because he had a long-term opportunity with Worcestershire, where he did very well. I think being there and out of the spotlight and working in a very consistent environment, has done him a great deal of good.

"Then moving to Adelaide and a fresh environment there, I think as a young man he's in a very good place and his game's in good order, and the circumstances are absolutely right for him to be selected."

Apart from Hughes' recall, the balance of Australia's bowling attack for Hobart is another point of conjecture. Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus have been deemed fit enough to return, though Inverarity said the selectors needed to see further evidence that the latter's bowling methods were returning to those he showed against India last summer.

"The history with Ben, he was doing well then the last series against England in Australia [in 2010-11] he didn't bowl to his highest level," Inverarity said. "He got things sorted out, a few niggles were sorted out and he got his bowling action right, and his bowling last summer was superb. He bowled at good pace and very well.

"His bowling in the first Test was a bit like against England, it wasn't as good as he'd hoped. So he needs to get 100% fit to perform, and his action so that he bowls like he did against India last summer, and we're hopefully that during this little break he'll be back to that sort of form."

Irrespective of who plays against Sri Lanka, all will have a challenge ahead to make up the gap left by Ponting in terms of leadership, experience and training example. "The dressing-room will be different without the presence of Ricky Ponting," Inverarity said. "His absence creates both the opportunity and the necessity for others to grow and fill the gap."

Ponting's contribution to the game will be marked by a lap of honour at Bellerive Oval during the lunch break on day one of the Test.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Trickstar on (December 9, 2012, 16:54 GMT)

@ pat_one_back Nah mate that's not funny at all, or for that matter even close to being original but hey banter isn't you're strong point so I'd keep quiet. Lets be real though hughes wouldn't even get a gig in the England B team and that's been kind to the dude. I think England fans can be critical without any irony what so ever after the display you and them put up in 2010, I mean come on Steve Smith, Doherty and that other spinner I can't remember the name of, surely the cupboards weren't that bare or maybe they were and still are if hughes is getting a look in.

Posted by pat_one_back on (December 9, 2012, 6:15 GMT)

@RednWhiteArmy, what's really funny is that if only Hughes was born in South Africa he could be opening for England! Hilarious irony reading English posts critical of Aust selections when your lot can't even field a team.

Posted by Beertjie on (December 8, 2012, 12:54 GMT)

A more thoughtful way to go (which might have happened if we lost badly against SA) would have been to ease Khawaja into the team to open with Cowan. Clarke, Watto, Ferguson and Hussey could have followed by now. Acknowledge Hughes' great first class form by taking him to India where he could get a game if someone got injured. But no! We're still looking for some the next Ponting or whoever (since Bradman retired). The jibes from the Pom trollers only hit home while we persevere with this mindset. Otherwise, if we were to make best use of our available talent (and this includes NOT rushing Cummins back for the first Ashes) the Ashes will be in our possession within a year and we will be real challengers for the Saffers, not the imposters we were.

Posted by Beertjie on (December 8, 2012, 12:28 GMT)

@Rahul_Ashok on (December 06 2012, 05:13 AM GMT) agree partly, but he will be needed soon because even if Hughes does well initially, how long can Warner be picked as opener? Agree entirely @Big_Maxy_Walker on (December 06 2012, 12:35 PM GMT): Hughes to open after Sri Lanka with Usman at #3. That will then make some kind of sense because Warner's footwork will again be exposed away from home. At best he'd be worth playing down the order against a team like the Saffers who lack good spinners. But surely others like Ferguson deserve a shot there. On Hughes: @OneEyedAussie on (December 06 2012, 10:35 AM GMT) "I [too] don't get the logic - is he being brought in for some confidence building against SL and India only to be dropped for the Ashes?" If so, who will replace him? That is why I've been pushing for Rogers to be in the party (also because I fear Warner will fail in India) and you really don't want to return Watto there.@brusselslion Holland will play in Ashes and surprise the Poms

Posted by popcorn on (December 7, 2012, 23:14 GMT)

This fancy for Phil Hughes puzzles me. After his tour to South Africa where he scored centuries, has he EVER scored a Test century? He has failed in The Ashes 2009,and against New Zealand.Caught Guptil,Bowled Martin.4 times.The Selectors are relying on HOPE over EXPERIENCE.Why was Chris Rogers given just one Test then? He was declared out dubiously. A great opener.Rob Quiney will NEVER get a look-in again.Usman Khawaja has been treated shabily by the Selectors.

Posted by A_Yorkshire_Lad on (December 7, 2012, 21:45 GMT)

@Hammond - in the interests of balance , when you say that Warne couldn't do it against England in 2005 , he did give us a damn good run for our money ! 40 wickets in the series - not bad ! I remember when he was brought on in the second innings at Trent Bridge , ' advising ' Ponting on the field placements , he all but caused our batsmen to panic in the modest run-chase of 120 something ; in one of the many 'what ifs' of that whole series , just imagine what might have happened in the Oz run-chase at Edgbaston if Warnie hadn't trodden on his wicket like that ? Stil , his comments seem contradictary and unhelpful ' Yes , I have no doubt I could make a comebck but frankly it's just too much trouble ' or so I read it . Cheers !

Posted by afs_talyarkhan on (December 7, 2012, 13:54 GMT)

@Hammond you say that Warne " couldn't do it against England in 2005" - what more do you expect him to do than take 40 wickets in 5 tests? Australia would settle for half that now.

Posted by thebatsmansHoldingthebowlersWilley on (December 7, 2012, 13:07 GMT)

This must be a joke right? Is this the best they can find to replace Ponting? Aussie top order is going to be a real problem for the Ashes. Get Huss in at 3 and Clarke in at 4. Watson at 6.

Posted by Hammond on (December 7, 2012, 12:38 GMT)

Hughes is as technically inept as most of the young Aussie batsmen. One quick glance at a video of him batting and any international bowler knows exactly where not to bowl to him, and where to cramp him up, get him chopping on or nicking to the keeper. Saying that, he is a far better option than Ricking, may he retire in peace. The panic in the Aussie camp is obvious by the way that Warne's name is being bandied about like a potential saviour. If he couldn't do it against England in 2005, no way he can do it 8 years later. Funny thought though.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 7, 2012, 12:23 GMT)

Essex man - I'm guessing you bought all 5 days against South Africa last year and dont want to make that mistake again.

Posted by ozwriter on (December 7, 2012, 11:13 GMT)

why does the selection panel have an obsession with hughes? he has been tried and failed twice. give him a decent chance to improve before calling him back in. hugh's big improvement is that now he can play on the legside. there are batsmen with those skills already who aren't being picked.

Posted by Essex_Man on (December 7, 2012, 10:46 GMT)

Big-Dog - Yes, my thoughts exactly. Nearly fell off my chair laughing when I heard this news. Am just glad all the Ashes tickets I've bought are for days 1-3!

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 7, 2012, 10:30 GMT)

Everyone bagging Hilfenhas, he actually didnt do too bad in the two tests agianst South Africa remember he played on the two pitches, where the conditions also made Steyn and Philander look like medium paces. We all know they are world class players. In those games Hilfenhaus probably did better than the other two. We need him for the Ashes as he is a genuine late outswing bowler that can go at 140 kh and will be good in England.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 7, 2012, 10:25 GMT)

SirViv73 - I said I wasnt interested in commenting, I love cricket particular test cricket and have been watching it. Cook is absolute class at the moment I'm just not interested on pre-emptive comments with regards to the Ashes - just let them come around. I took exception with someone commenting that Australias team is a laughing stock thats why I pointed out those players. The Aussies have been pretty good the last 15 months and on the improve, yet so many English supporters want to bag good cricketers ie Lyon who has a better record in Australia on pitches that dont help spinners too much than Swann. They also cant understand that guys like Johnson, Hilfenhaus, Siddle, Hughes cant improve with playing extra test cricket. You only need to look at the English captain to see that players do improve. I think it will be a good series coming up but Australia are certainly no laughing stock.

Posted by   on (December 7, 2012, 9:41 GMT)

i guess philip hughes has been given too many chance and if oZ's are serious about winning ashed will have to look at cosgrove or fergusson or may be doolan. selecting philip hughes against a insipid bowling squads like srilanka and india and making him play against andeson, swann and co is a perfect recipie for disaster.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (December 7, 2012, 8:21 GMT)

Id just come home from work after a stressful day and then i read this story and now i cant stop laughing.

Posted by   on (December 7, 2012, 7:15 GMT)

There needs to be more balance. Way too many let handed batsmen in the team now. England will expose that sadly.

Posted by Big-Dog on (December 7, 2012, 7:10 GMT)

So let me get this straight.....proven failures, Hughes & Johnson get shoe horned into the side against an underperforming Sri Lanka & then get sent to England for the Ashes where they will fail again & the Ashes stay with the Poms. Is Inverarity 'channeling' Hilditch?

Posted by   on (December 7, 2012, 5:02 GMT)

If Hilfenhaus couldn't be picked for Perth because he was a bit tired, why is he picked for Hobart if there is a problem with his action? Please, selectors, once you've picked the team then nothing but supportive comments to the media.

Posted by   on (December 7, 2012, 5:02 GMT)

Soft landing? He has copped it from pillar to post by a lot of people just because he struggled in a few cricket games. He gets an unbelievable amount of unfair criticism and abuse by the fair weather fans who will be quick to praise him if succeeds having conveniently forgotten what they originally said...

Posted by V-Man_ on (December 7, 2012, 4:55 GMT)

I really dont think there was much wrong with Ben's bowling. Its just that he was bowling against a great batting outfit. Get him to bowl against the Sri lankans and he will be back in form.

Posted by RaadQ on (December 7, 2012, 3:18 GMT)

If anything, this suggests he ISN'T 'cherry ripe'. However, its a good move, to ease him back into international cricket, however batting down the order against 120kmphers will give him an inflated sense of getting into international mode. Hopefully he does well and gains the confidence he requires to face more potent bowling attacks. He should then move up the order to make a LH/RH combination with cowan or warner, as one of them should be dropped (both are sub-standard, as shown by the SA series) depending on their performances against lanka. Then Khawaja should be introduced into the line up as he is another future player. Clarke should temporarily hold the #3 spot to help Khawaja ease into the side, but he seems scared to face the first new ball.

Posted by joseyesu on (December 7, 2012, 3:07 GMT)

Protecting Hughes exposes him that he is no good agaist strong attack. May be against SL/Ind he can score hundreds.

Posted by lillie_express on (December 7, 2012, 2:50 GMT)

I thought Hughes was young...Cook is only 4 years older with 7000 more runs and 20 more centuries. wow!

Posted by Dashgar on (December 7, 2012, 2:31 GMT)

@Marcio, you're bang on the money. Hughes' track record may not be great but Australia's selectors recently have been very good, especially in timing the recall of previous failures.

Posted by   on (December 7, 2012, 2:24 GMT)

if phil hughes wasnt ready to be no.3 for the south african series what will doing well against sri lanka prove... what if quiney had done well ..would there had been room for hughes.? . hughes is a great talent but his test will be the ashes if he is still in the team then. england dont quite have the bowling firepower of souith africa but have some pretty decent seamers anderson ,broad ,finn who will not hesitate with short pitched bowling..and that has always been hughes achilles heel. i hope kwahja is next in line for a middle order spot.

Posted by sohaibahmad on (December 7, 2012, 2:24 GMT)

against India Hilfenhaus didnt bowl well, against India everyone gets easy wckets, otherwise he is just another ordinary medium pacer

Posted by MattyLeeC on (December 7, 2012, 1:58 GMT)

Everyone needs to lay off the talk about Phill Hughes technique. Some of the best batsmen ever have had shocking techniques. Brian Lara comes to mind. While Hughes isnt in that class, you need to remember he is still very young and developing his game. Some of our best bats have come into the team very young because they clearly have the talent but have then been dropped for poor technique. Matt Hayden and Michael Clarke had this happen to them and theyve ended up being pretty decent test players. You dont have to have a technique thats straight from the text book you have to have a technique that suits you. Hughes just needs to keep working on his to perfect it.

Posted by Meety on (December 7, 2012, 1:21 GMT)

@ landl47 on (December 06 2012, 13:43 PM GMT) - re: Hughes's County stint. Hughes played 9 games & averaged 39, his team mates averaged 18, the other top 6 batsmen in his team averaged - 19. The opposition he played against averaged 34, opposition top 7 averaged 35 (which is boosted by some low scoring 4th innings chases). It was worth noting that on about 3/4 of the matches Hughes played in, Worcs batted 1st, & often had 1st innings leads, & the 4th innings resulted in the best batting average for the match (i.e conditions improved for batting as the match wore on). He had the match highest score in 3 of the 9 games he played in. What does this all means, he was twice as good as his team mates, & on average, marginally better than the opposition top 7 in 1st Division. I would suggest that Hughes played in more difficult batting conditions than most Div 1 batsmen, in terms of pitch/weather & in terms of pressure playing for a side that was coming last.

Posted by AndrewFromOz on (December 7, 2012, 1:07 GMT)

So Quiney is the "new" Brad Hodge then?

Posted by V-Man_ on (December 7, 2012, 0:14 GMT)

When I heard they picked Quiney, I thought are they serious. Why didn't they pick one of the top 2 contenders (Hughes & Khawaja)! So Hughes will score lots of runs against a very very weak SL bowling line up (similar to what ponting did against India last year) and people will say look at the improvement he has made. it was the right decision by the selectors. They are genius. I am assuming Hughes would somehow be saved from the English next year. I wonder who would be the sacrificial lamb then? Remember the poms had the better of Hughes last time he was there. And for the people who will say but he scored lots of run in county recently. My answer to them is watching the english bowlers bowling against India at the moment. Specially Anderson and Monty.

Posted by Rowayton on (December 6, 2012, 23:46 GMT)

What's this talk about Quiney being sacrificed? He was given two Tests and didn't score any runs. If he had made even one reasonable score he probably would have remained first in line. The South African bowling wasn't that great - both Cowan and Warner made 100s in Quiney's two games.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (December 6, 2012, 23:21 GMT)

@Shaggy076, Every country has had its share of mediocre players including Aus. For instance Andrew Mcdonald's test record is no better than Mark Ealham and you just have to look at some of the spin bowlers Aus have tried in recent years Doherty, Smith & Casson immediately spring to mind. I also suspect the reason you aren't interested in Ind v Eng is because Eng are doing rather well right now.

Posted by InsideHedge on (December 6, 2012, 23:08 GMT)

Even the Indians had the Aussies at 50 odd for 3 pretty much EVERY innings, how much longer can Clarke bail them out? As for Hilfenhaus, at some point Inverarity will realise that every Tom, Dick & Harry did well against India last year, and this year too. They're in a bad place, the Hilf has been exposed, he's a military medium seam bowler who will struggle against quality teams. And Hughes is a long term bet? Inverarity needs his head examining. Bring back Hilditch!

Posted by SirViv1973 on (December 6, 2012, 23:07 GMT)

Having seen a bit of him at Worcester last year I'm not convinced hes a better player than he was during his 2 ashes experiences, so with 2 more ashes series on the horizon I am a little surprised CA have chosen now to bring him back. He will probably fill his boots against SRL though. I know they somehow won in Durban last year but their bowling attack is at best mediocre. I also can't believe they have chosen to play only 1 3 day warm up game, I doubt any of their seamers have bowled in Aus conditions before. This is going to be a very one sided affair.

Posted by Meety on (December 6, 2012, 22:32 GMT)

@Si Baker - the articles says that Quinney appreciated the opportunity that less than 450 people have EVER had the privilege of - a Baggy Green. @Baldo1 on (December 06 2012, 13:12 PM GMT) - lovely - Lyon is a "club spinner". Hmm - lets just look at that a bit closer shall we? Swann has a career ave of 29.1 with a S/R of 60, Lyon ave 31 with a S/R of 64. Against the #1 side in the world atm - Swann averages 39 witha S/R of 80, whereas Lyon ave 38, with a S/R of 78. Swann got dropped against Sth Africa - Lyon did not. Lyon has not had the benefit of playing against Bangladesh, Swann has. Pity England's #1 spinner appears to be a "club spinner" hey? Doh! @landl47 - I will do a peer analysis of Hughes & Khawaja's recent County season - I am fairly sure that whilst both had mid 30s average, I think you will find (particularly with Khawaja) that they played in low scoring matches. I did one on Khawaja's Shield season (prior to Manuka Oval v NSW) - & he was double what everyone else was.

Posted by HardNut on (December 6, 2012, 22:25 GMT)

Wow, how must i be feeling if i would be Srilankan attack, "We think your attack is not good enough, so we are giving our second rate players a chance against you". Talk about stirring up the opponent and giving them a dose of motivation.

Posted by Fleming_Mitch on (December 6, 2012, 22:18 GMT)

@CricHorizon I don't think KHawaja is too far from a callup based on what . Inevarity stated that they are very happy with Khawaja's progress and that he has made giant leeps in resolving the things they asked of him, i am happy to hear that because it shows selectors are acknowledging improvements and attitude. 50 yesterday in the chairman's game, Doolan got 6, so time to give Khawaja some credit, he got 80 odd in the last Ryobi game against NSW. I don't think selectors ever viewed Quiney at 30 as a long term prospect.

Posted by Mervo on (December 6, 2012, 21:42 GMT)

All these Test aspirants should be banned from T20 as that destroys their techniques and takes away valuable training time for improving, not ruining, their techniques.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 21:36 GMT)

So they exposed Quiny at no 3 against the best pace attack in the world and bring Hughes back against SL who aren't the best attack in the world. Who do they consider Hughes to be? A Minnows thrasher, flat track bully? Play him against the hapless India and what about the Ashes next year? Drop him against England because they don't want to expose him to a good bowling line up? Seriously!

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (December 6, 2012, 21:19 GMT)

Let's go in order of best batsmen not currently in the test team: 1) David Hussey 2) George Bailey 3) Usman Khawaja 4) Joe Burns 5) Chris Rogers 6) Glenn Maxwell 7) Steve Smith 8) Adam Voges 9) Cameron White 10) Alex Doolan. So why are we picking someone who is still susceptible to quality experienced international bowlers, who was found out years ago and is still being found out? The selectors have had some shockers lately with their selection of batsmen, but this one is if anything even worse than the Quiney decision.

Posted by Ms.Cricket on (December 6, 2012, 21:06 GMT)

Not good enough to face South Africa!! Ha ha! What better way to destroy the reputation of the player you have just picked for the next series!!

Posted by TripleCenturian on (December 6, 2012, 20:22 GMT)

Perhaps the Aussie selectors might like to protect Hughes when the Aussies play England next year and recall poor old Quiney for the tougher games. Then Hughes can come back for an easier series again against Bangladesh.....

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 20:17 GMT)

We are no doubt going to go into the Ashes series with one less batsman. Because Phil Hughes will be there.

My prediction:

1. In 3 Tests against an undermanned Sri Lankan bowling attack on flat batting tracks he will average 32. Just not bad enough to get dropped. 2. He will retain his spot in the Ashes touring party and will average 12 in the first 3 Tests before being dropped. Those 12 runs will come from streaky shots though 4th. Slip and over point.

So with one batsman down in the first 3 Tests. We will be chasing victory in the last 2 Tests to see if we can draw the series (assuming one of the first 3 will be rain effected).

DISCLAIMER: The author of this note thinks that Phil Hughes is a flat track bully who will again be found out on pitches that provide any sideways movement and bounce.

Posted by thruthecovers on (December 6, 2012, 20:11 GMT)

This wrong on so many levels is not even funny. So what was Quiney going to do? Throw a tantrum and tell the selectors exactly what he thought of them? Imo, Hughes has definite technical issues. He might score some runs against bowling attacks of lesser quality and that might even get his confidence up, but worldclass bowlers will have him crashing back to earth quicksmart.Would you consider Chris Martin worldclass? Have to agree with most English comments. The cupboard must be realy bare if they go to such lengths to try and boost the confidence of a technically flawed batsman. Wow! Aus' fall from grace almost makes you feel sorry for them...not! And how easy it nowadays for their opposition. Any bowling attack worth their salt have only Clarke and Hussey to worry about. A specific plan might be needed to get them out, whereas line and length will be good enough for the rest. And that's a sad indictment on Aus depth. Dean Elgar has better chance, being part of a successfull setup

Posted by GeoffreysMother on (December 6, 2012, 19:47 GMT)

Excellent posts by landl47 and Si Baker. They sum up the situation perfectly. It sounds like Inverarity is basically saying we haven't got a batsman anywhere near test class under 30. Is there anyone on the horizon? What has happened to Marsh?

Posted by Truemans_Ghost on (December 6, 2012, 19:40 GMT)

Am I missing something here? Hughes debuted back in 2009 and has played 17 tests. They are talking about him like an 18 year old debutant.

Posted by TommytuckerSaffa on (December 6, 2012, 19:35 GMT)

Wow, this is going to be a cake-walk for England in the Ashes. England has 3 solid Saffa batsmen in Trott, Petersen and Compton plus very good opener in Cook and testing seam attack with quality spinners. England will ensure lively tracks that require skill to bat on, not the Roads we saw in Adelaide and Brisbane to ensure people can get double tons when batting first. As soon as some skill was required to bowl or bat Oz fell apart. (Perth). Sri Lanka has a shot here to cause an upset.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (December 6, 2012, 18:43 GMT)

Phil Hughes Back? Australia's cupboard is totally bare, everyone remembers how Phil Hughes's career was ruined by England. And in doing putting a smile on the face of all those who said 'I told you so' to the ones hailing Hughes's as the 'next Bradman' from the start of his international career. England must be cock-a-hoop at the thought of bowling to this Australian batting line up. What next - Bring back Brice Mcgain?

Posted by Syed_imran_abbas on (December 6, 2012, 18:33 GMT)

Khawaja could have a been a better choice. He has not been given fair oppertunity. but i guess he will get his chance there are going to be more places to fill in team soon.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (December 6, 2012, 18:24 GMT)

this might be the right move for hughes, he wont get many quick deliveries into the ribs or across him tempting him into hanging his bat out like washing on a line. The big question is how long can aus rely on Clarke and Hussey in the late order to save them, and whos likely to be his replacement. Bowling wise, I'd expect to see Johnson, Cummins, Starc, Pattinson, Siddle and Hilfenhaus forming the core of thier attack (if fit) in next years ashes, with Lyon being the spinner of choice, maybe Beer or Doherty being the reserves.

Posted by bumsonseats on (December 6, 2012, 17:38 GMT)

i hope that squad announced will be the same for the 1st ashes test.i thought cricinfo would have covered the warne story of him coming back and playing the 2 ashes series as he feels, well i guess gutted to watch the incumbents. if they can get him on the field, he would still do a brilliant job not sure of the back to back tests or fielding for that long just think 500+ for 1 score line.but needs must.

Posted by IMKailash on (December 6, 2012, 16:48 GMT)

Can not agree anymore... Hughes is the man to go...

Posted by popcorn on (December 6, 2012, 16:25 GMT)

This is a BIG,BIG mistake. Phil Hughes will AGAIN let Australia down. Usman Khawaja and Rob Quiney have much better techniques.I see his friend, Michael Clarke's hand in his selection.I thought Clarke has SEEN THROUGH HIM after Hughes' performance last summer.

Posted by bumsonseats on (December 6, 2012, 16:09 GMT)

dont know what the Pakistani born khawaja has done or not done.he should have been the next taxi on the rank hes a middle order with abit of class even though he did struggle against england in 10/11 but most did. he the best option from the small selection of available talent and hes been hardened in CC division 2.

Posted by jb633 on (December 6, 2012, 16:05 GMT)

For God sake why do Australia not open with Warner. I simply cannot understand why they move him down the order. I would mover Warner down to number 5 who could either play a counter attacking role or pile the pressure upon tired bowlers, if the platform has been set.

Posted by brusselslion on (December 6, 2012, 16:03 GMT)

What a great day to be English. Top performance aginst India and then the news that Hughes is back!

Looking forward to the Ashes, I suppose it could work. Warner & Cowan see off the new ball, Hughes then comes in and hits a ton and Australia are 220-2. However, a more likely scenerio is Warner goes quickly followed almost in the same breath by Hughes and Oz are 20-2.

Despite the promise of your young quicks, from an English perspective, I like the look of the Australian squad: Warner, Hughes - "destined to be a Test great", Johnson, Hilf - "world top 5 bowler", Lyon - "3rd best spinner in the world". Now if only you'd recall Holland!

Posted by bumsonseats on (December 6, 2012, 15:57 GMT)

fill the team with T20 players watson hughes and warner is not the way to go. i guess they will do ok v SL, but england are waiting for you. hughes is no different than he was before, how can a selector watch him and think hes changed.

Posted by Sinhaya on (December 6, 2012, 15:37 GMT)

Probably Usman Khawaja might have been a better idea. Hughes I feel has failed too much. I suppose Sri Lanka's average bowling means he can cash in.

Posted by PACERONE on (December 6, 2012, 15:20 GMT)

If he is judging from making runs in SS,then Pointing could still be playing against Sri Lanka.Pointing had showed good form before playing against South Africa.

Posted by Marcio on (December 6, 2012, 14:55 GMT)

I'm getting a little tired of the lack of perspective here. And not just the comments. There are 5 stories about AUS at the top of the homepage, all of them with a negative focus. Anyone would think the team was getting thrashed repeatedly. In fact they have won 9 of the last 17 teats, lost 3. They were totally outplaying SA in the last series till Pattinson broke down, and would have at least drawn it if not for that. That's all way more positive than negative in my book.

Posted by TheLonelyisland on (December 6, 2012, 14:42 GMT)

@landl47 but at least Khawaja got in line and looked to play straight and through cover, when the aussies were last over here, in stark contrast to Hughes's, shall we say, more agricultural approach.

I mean I'm not saying the lad couldn't have worked his nuts off and gotten some extra technique, but from what I saw of them both in england I know which one I'd have put my faith behind.

But I do agree with you about there seemingly being few exciting batting prospects around Australia at the moment.

Posted by BlastFromThePast on (December 6, 2012, 14:34 GMT)

Rather than preoccupying themselves too much with the batting order and whom to play,(not sure if at all the aussies would ever be able to find someone with the same amount of zeal for the game as Ponting,so they might as well stop looking)the concentration should really be to develop players who remain injury free for at least one season-by the looks of it the team is struggling to field for quicks, Lyon in any case is a poor excuse for an offie,and then try and come up with a strategy to pick up 20 wickets in a test. By the looks of it this team would get a serious whipping come India and England-BETTER HURRY!!!

Posted by SCC08 on (December 6, 2012, 14:27 GMT)

@Baldo1 - wouldn't it be nice to see Aus vs Eng in the ashes again? Least Aus put out a team with 11 Ausi's in it as compared the United Nations of Britain. Under-estimate this Aus side at your on peril.. Brilliantly lead by a brave Cap.. I predict Aus to win. Saffa talking

Posted by SCC08 on (December 6, 2012, 14:23 GMT)

My side would be: Smith, Petersen, Amla, Kallis, AB, Duminy, Faf, Robbie P, Vernon, Steyn and Morne.. World No 1 stuff that. Oh, wrong team LOL. And as for all you Poms giving the Ausi's a bashing.. Fact, Aus put up a much better fight than you did. If all their quicks stay fit you're in trouble. Oh, and good luck getting Clarke out.

Posted by landl47 on (December 6, 2012, 13:43 GMT)

@TheLonelyIsland: While it's true that Hughes only averaged 35 in County Cricket last season (and his average fell as the bowlers worked him out) I'm not sure Khawaja was any better. He averaged 34 and he was playing in Division 2. I think Hughes is a talented player who needs to learn how to deal with the ball going across him. Alastair Cook faced a similar problem and he adjusted. Whether Hughes has made the same adjustment I guess we'll see. At least he's young and has a decent first-class average. Most of the others being talked about (Quiney, Doolan, Ferguson) are in their late 20s/early 30s and have first-class averages under 40. That just isn't test class, especially for batsmen playing the majority of their cricket in Australia. Look at the averages of genuine test-class players (Ponting, Clarke, Hussey). Aus has a problem with few good young batsmen coming through. Hughes is one of the best of what they have.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 13:43 GMT)

Right decision, wrong announcement. How must Quiney be feeling right now, knowing he was never regarded as anything but a sacrificial lamb? How, for that matter, must Hughes feel, knowing that he simply wasn't regarded as good enough to face the SA attack? Personally, I'd be far more interested in hearing the rationale as to why Australia's first-choice pace attack was collectively rested at Perth due to 'tiredeness' (this *is* international sport, after all, a fact that *should* be reflected in the fitness & stamina of Australia's Test players), & why the Aussie selectors continue to sabotage the Test career of Shane Watson by obstinately refusing to play him at his natural position at No. 6, something which would also allow him enough R&R between innings to make him a viable fifth bowler & a genuine all-rounder.

Posted by ozwriter on (December 6, 2012, 13:26 GMT)

stuart, "I disagree with the selectors. Hughes is capable and runs on confidence and has added a wicked pull shot to his repertoire since he was dropped. The trouble is Khawaja has always had all of the shots, and has as many runs as Hughes in the shield, but hasn't been given half of the opportunities Hughes has." I agree with you.

Posted by SICHO on (December 6, 2012, 13:12 GMT)

This just proves that our attack is certainly the best in the world. The Oz selectors were too scared to bring their "in-form" batsman this season against? This shows that they think he isn't good enough (for now) to play with the big dogs. Then why bring him in if he isn't capable of handling the best?

Posted by Baldo1 on (December 6, 2012, 13:12 GMT)

Wow, how the Aussie cupcoard is bare. You are going to come over to England with Johnson, Hilfenhaus, Siddle and a club spinner just like last time and will get a proper thumping this time. Just like the last series in your back yard. At least you have 4 opening batsmen in your line up now to try and avoid being 50/3 in every single test innings you play. Once Michael Clarke's hard hands and big lunge forward start failing him, and the ball starts swinging around, it is back to 52 year old Mike Hussey to get all your runs if he can still walk by then. Good luck and I do hope you enjoy the sign we have put up at the Oval tube station for you

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 12:57 GMT)

@Shaggy076 - you may not have put Ealham, Irani and Foster in your side but you have put Quiney, Beer, Doherty etc. in of late not sure that argument sticks.

For England's sake I am praying that both Hughes and Johnson make the side for the 1st Ashes test.

Posted by Nightwing32 on (December 6, 2012, 12:37 GMT)

Every player has a weakness, so much is made about Hughes' weakness but he has done well in England for his County and SA and previously NSW. Please stick with him like Australia stuck with Steve Waugh like South Africa stuck with Amla and Kallis like Sri Lanka stuck with Atupattu, he is only 24 and he will be a force. Though I would bat him at 6 and move Hussey to 4 then Hughes can play without that much pressure compared if he was batting 3.

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (December 6, 2012, 12:35 GMT)

not a big fan of hughes, but i would put him in the side ahead of warner. Hughes has a better technique than warner for the long game. my team would be hughes, cowan, khawaja, clarke, hussey, watson, wade, starc, siddle, cutting/bird, lyon, 12th man johnson.

Posted by Dashgar on (December 6, 2012, 12:34 GMT)

I think this is actually what we will come to expect from Inverarity. He won't do what the fans want, or what tradition would say is 'right'. He'll do instead what's best for the team. It's wrong to sacrifice Rob Quiney, but in the long run we could be far better off thanks to that. I think the only thing he's really got wrong is how he's managed the young quicks to keep them on the field and improving. But his methods may come good. Time will tell.

Posted by TheLonelyisland on (December 6, 2012, 12:33 GMT)

Whilst I agree with your comments about sticking with Mitch who I still rate highly (and I'm english), I don't agree with Hughes being first one back though.

Hughes averaged 35 in county cricket this year and alot of us english lads thought he was susceptible to the ball seaming around at pace, whilst Usman looked far more comfortable.

Ealham and Irani would walk into your side at the moment I'm afraid and I'm not sure which Foster you're refering to, if it's Neil Foster then you are being a bit silly.

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (December 6, 2012, 12:24 GMT)

@shaggy.. Copeland, McGain, Cullen, D'oherty, Hastings, Quiney, George, Krejza, Marsh, McKay, Beer, Harris, Manou, Casson, R McDonald .. V similar my old china... Read it and weep... ; )

Posted by hycIass on (December 6, 2012, 12:13 GMT)

@Geff Opray i am a fan of Khawaja too and believe that he would be the best option for 3 but there is no way i would stop supporting our team. Khawaja will get his chance, he is scoring consistently and got another 50 today against the Sri Lankans, and keep in mind the selectors acknowledged his improvements under Lehman this season so keep your faith mate, we will do well with both Hughes and Khawaja in the team.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 6, 2012, 11:53 GMT)

Village blacksmith - We would never put a player of the ilk of Mark Ealham, Ronnie Irani, Foster, and many others in our side. Cant wait to watch Hughes make a stack of runs in England. Judging by recent form we played a lot better against South Africa than you and have only lost Ponting who averaged single figures. I dont get why English fans need to comment unless they were worried about the Ashes coming up. Cant say I have even bothered to read comments on England vs India.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 6, 2012, 11:49 GMT)

Ok few people talking up Shaun Marsh as Australian captain seems to have had several attitude issues and currently averaging 10 this shield season long way to go, Fergusson I'm a South Aussie and love him but no-one averaging 37 should be considered as a test batsman, dont understand why Hughes cant bat at three many shield opening batsman have played in different positions in the test side Blewett, Hussey, Boon to name a few. I dont mind Usman as a cricketer but currently Hughes is out performing him at shield level.

Posted by Gordo85 on (December 6, 2012, 11:47 GMT)

The main problem for a start is that he isn't even really a number three. Most times when players play out of position it ends up costing them. Have a look at Neil McKenzie he was never an opening batsmen but yet South Africa played him as one and against Australia it was there weak link years ago.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (December 6, 2012, 11:31 GMT)

I dont understand why people cant except players can improve. I remember Matt Haydens first crack at test cricket not very impressive. Hughes still 24 got dropped, worked on his deficiencies and done the right thing and just scored runs at shield level. He is the most imform shield batsman and deserves a crack. I'm pretty confident he will average above 40 against Sri Lanka. As for those having a crack at Mitchell Johnson there was a time this bloke was consistently winning us test matches from what I saw in Perth he was more consistent and certainly the quickest and most impressive of our bowlers. I believe from that performance he deserves to play again. Good luck to both Phil and Mitch.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (December 6, 2012, 11:23 GMT)

@VillageBlackmsith I think you're comparison is a bit overstretched. England of the 90s would have lost 3-0 at home to South Africa.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 11:15 GMT)

100% confident Shaun Marsh is a future test captian for Australia?? What?? Anyway, I would only ever pick Hughes as an opener, Khawaja was a better choice for short and long term with the Ashes coming up. Hughes needs a full season home and away before he proves his game has changed.

Posted by VivGilchrist on (December 6, 2012, 11:05 GMT)

Ponting couldn't score a run so Australia have lost nothing in selecting Hughes. Hughes is a talent and he's only 24. Khawaja is next in so relax people.

Posted by Meety on (December 6, 2012, 11:00 GMT)

@Emancipator007 on (December 06 2012, 05:22 AM GMT) - I am a fan of Ferguson, but at the end of the Day his FC average is only 37 for a reason. IMO - the only way he will make the Test team is, after getting into the ODI side, continue his International form against good opposition - bit like M Hussey & D Martyn. Ferguson looks all class, but so did Sean Marsh! @HatsforBats on (December 06 2012, 05:38 AM GMT) - agree, too many Lefties!

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (December 6, 2012, 10:48 GMT)

It's like looking at ENG in the '90s and there is no more damning comment than that... You aussies are doomed, and it seems Arthur is similar to Lloyd, so you have zero hope... Highly amusing... he he he

Posted by hycIass on (December 6, 2012, 10:48 GMT)

@Stuart319 and CricHorizon i was one of Khawaja's biggest critics but his performance and attitude has won me over this year. I won't put Hughes down because he is a good player but say that Khawaja also belongs in the Aussie team and if he keeps scoring as he has been he will get in sooner rather then later.

Posted by kamranmalik7 on (December 6, 2012, 10:41 GMT)

I feel there are still more better players ar side line like Usman Khwaja, Shaun Marsh. And I am 100 % confident that Shaun Marsh is Australia future Captain. The only issue is that he,s never been given sustainable chances. Usman is more solid than hughes. Aussie selectors are mixing up with one day specialists with test ones. If you igonore the domestic performances, what else is the criteria ? Australia remained No. 1 due to its high quality performers...not the average stroke players.

Posted by OneEyedAussie on (December 6, 2012, 10:35 GMT)

Statistically Hughes is the best choice - has a lot of FC runs this year at a decent average (though his home ground is Adelaide). I just worry about how he will fare against quality opposition (and it appears I'm not alone). The selectors didn't want to expose him against Steyn and co, but Australia will be playing back-to-back series against England over the next twelve months. I don't get the logic - is he being brought in for some confidence building against SL and India only to be dropped for the Ashes?

Posted by Mary_786 on (December 6, 2012, 10:34 GMT)

@stuartk319 and @CricHorizon i agree with you guys that Khawaja was unlucky to miss out but the fact is that the selectors acknoweldged his improvements this year and he is not too far from a calll up. Both him and Hughes will do well for Australia.

Posted by RobTay14 on (December 6, 2012, 10:19 GMT)

I was keen to see Hughes over Khuwaja, and sounds like he has done some hard work on his technique and improved, so I'm excited to see him play. I also think it was good to leave him out against South Africa where his (inexperienced) confidence may have taken a beating. Good selection/strategy by the Aussie management in my opinion, and good luck to Hughes.

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (December 6, 2012, 10:18 GMT)

Happy to see Hughes there though Khawaja is not too far from a call up and Inevarity acknowledged the same. I agree with not bringin in Hughes for the SA series as the series against Sri Lanka will give him confidence.

Posted by bouncedout on (December 6, 2012, 10:16 GMT)

Aus selectors really are clueless.

How does Quiney feel now that he has been told that he was a stopgap until they could bring Hughes back against a 'weaker' team against whom Hughes 'might' score some runs.

Hughes has not changed a bit since he was found out against the shortball in England. now he is brought back in because they think he might be up to playing against Sri Lanka but not against SA.

How does this leave Hughes feeling?

Pathetic decision by the selectors and a good way to ruin the promising career of not one but two batsmen.

Posted by ozwriter on (December 6, 2012, 10:08 GMT)

does anyone else smell something really fishy about this selection. why does the NSP have an obsession with hughes 1. to have a long term prospect and 2 to bring him back so quickly despite repeated failures and 3. to the exclusion of more qualified and talented players. could it be something other than his batting?????? you gotto to wonder.

Posted by Dashgar on (December 6, 2012, 10:07 GMT)

I am not a fan of Hughes at all, he has disappointed me at every turn in his career since a stellar start, but listening to Inverarity talk, they have clearly thought long and hard about him. So for now I will trust. Go Hughes!

Posted by stuartk319 on (December 6, 2012, 10:04 GMT)

I disagree with the selectors. Hughes is capable and runs on confidence and has added a wicked pull shot to his repertoire since he was dropped. The trouble is Khawaja has always had all of the shots, and has as many runs as Hughes in the shield, but hasn't been given half of the opportunities Hughes has.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 10:02 GMT)

Somewhere, Martin Guptill smiles. And Chris Martin wishes he had another 10 years left in the legs.

Posted by ozwriter on (December 6, 2012, 10:02 GMT)

well said Geoff Opray. this is nothing short of injustice. i'm also tending towards not supporting our national team until hughes or the NSP gets dropped.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 10:02 GMT)

@Smudgeon, hard to disagree with your feelings on this one. There's no sink or swim selection policy, that's for sure. I just hope Hughes finally delivers this time and doesn't turn out to be a Ramprakash/Hick type character who continues to fail at the 27th rebirth. On paper he's way ahead of anyone else under the age of 25, Way ahead!

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 9:55 GMT)

@DylanBrah is exactly spot on, all these people complaining we're putting down the Sri Lankans by this article because we didn't play Hughes against SA & not playing our 'best 11' for that series we did, Hughes has been dropped twice & to bring him into a high pressure series for the #1 throne is a big weight on his shoulders on top of him trying to score runs on the international scene, way too much of a risk for the aussies more so than Hughes himself, this is the perfect opportunity, but I wouldn't mind if he played out the rest of the season for Redbacks!

Posted by guptahitesh4u on (December 6, 2012, 9:52 GMT)

What if Quiney would had succeeded against the SA? Would they have still gone ahead with Hughes as Ponting's replacement?

Posted by Beertjie on (December 6, 2012, 9:49 GMT)

Agree entirely, @tony122 on (December 06 2012, 07:37 AM GMT) How is such easing in of a player helping him withstand sterner tests like 10 Ashes tests within a year? If he couldn't play on local tracks how's he going to fare in England. I sincerely hope I'm proven wrong because of my huge concern with the consistency of our starts, but how long will we play this game, Chairman of the NSP, before we learn? Given the 12 selected, the best way to go forward is to re-jig the batting order: Hughes, Cowan, Watson, Clarke, Hussey, Warner, Wade, Starc/Johnson, Siddle, Hilfenhaus, Lyon. At least that takes most batsmen's apparent preferences into consideration while seeking the requisite stability. My own view largely mirrors the post of @unregisteredalien on (December 06 2012, 07:59 AM GMT). I'm sure others wish they were treated with the kid gloves Hughes is receiving.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 9:47 GMT)

@Gilly4ever, I love how many ill informed comments on this site, you actually watched him this yr mate or read the article properly?? here let me assist this is from this article & every single word is the truth..... as mcuh as I know he's failed twice, it's clear he's changed a lot of things this time around & I hope he proves us all wrong!! "If you watched him closely 12 months ago and now, his scoring range is very different," Inverarity said. "He's scoring through the leg side off his pads much better, driving on the on-side, and pulling short balls, which wasn't the case 12 months ago"

Posted by brittop on (December 6, 2012, 9:47 GMT)

Thought Australians were "real" men who fronted up not matter what the situation.

Posted by mamboman on (December 6, 2012, 9:46 GMT)

he's not good enough. But, at least they didn't pick Khawaja!

Posted by stormy16 on (December 6, 2012, 9:35 GMT)

They are certainly obsessed with Hughes a guy who has struggled against quality pace time and time again. He (well anyone) may do well against a mediocre SL attack but the real test will be against quality attacks. Unless he has changed something dramatically I cant get what this obsession is.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 9:20 GMT)

Usman Khawaja anyone?! As a Pom I am loving this! Bring on the Ashes!

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (December 6, 2012, 9:17 GMT)

The problem with Hughes is that he has an unorthodox technique, which is a problem that was exposed by England's experienced bowlers, starting with Harmison. He was rightly dumped and tasked with changing his technique to deal with being found out. He failed to do this. Then he was recalled on the basis that the Zimbabwe A bowlers were unable to exploit his batting deficiencies. He then failed against a myriad of different international bowlers. Now, in spite of not having changed a single thing about his technique, he is recalled again. It is possible he will succeed - but only if Sri Lanka's bowling coach isn't any good. But even if he does succeed, he is going to fail against top class international bowlers. David Hussey, on the other hand, has success against all kinds, and George Bailey is coming on in leaps and bounds - why were these two obvious choices excluded from the decision making process? Two players with success at international level, both in form.

Posted by Moppa on (December 6, 2012, 9:04 GMT)

I kind of agree with Inverarity, but I'm not sure he's presented the argument right. Hughes is a long-term prospect, and after being dropped twice from the Test team, I agree that bringing him back only to be dropped again would be very damaging for his confidence. Remember how much stick he coped from fans and press during the 2010-11 Ashes - can't be good for a young guy. The key difference now is that Ponting's departure is permanent (Watson's spot, which Quiney took, was not), not that Sri Lanka are weaker than South Africa (which they are, but that shouldn't be the argument). Now it looks like he is disrespecting Sri Lanka. I would have said that bringing Hughes back as a stop-gap, in which case he's likely to be 'dropped', was not good for his confidence. Speaking of which, I would prefer Khawaja because Hughes does not have lots of experience at 3, and if he comes in and struggles to adapt, it will be tough for him.

Posted by smudgeon on (December 6, 2012, 9:03 GMT)

There are so many things wrong with Inverarity's statement, I have no idea where to begin. What does this say about Philip Hughes? What does it say about Rob Quiney? What does it say about the Australian team management's view of the Sri Lankan team? I have no qualms with them picking Hughes - it was to be expected, if not necessarily agreed with. What I object to is the view that Philip Hughes somehow "deserves" an easy introduction to his third stab at test cricket; the inference that Rob Quiney is both expendable and less worthy than another batsman; that the people in charge of the Australian test team have started to view other test teams as "lesser" or "softer"; and that what would have been considered "the best XI" wasn't picked. I'm not one to view other eras with rose-tinted glasses, but I always believed that Australian cricket was played on the principle that you put your best XI on the park, regardless of your opposition, and compete as hard as you can. This is dizzying...

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 8:57 GMT)

No wonder Australia are lagging behind the good teams in the world. What an absolute joke selecting Hughes - a proven failure to reasonable bowling and what an amazing admission to not play him against Sth Africa because they have a reasonable attack. I can no longer support Australian cricket when a young man like Khawaja with impeccable talent and technique is left out for a person with no talent and flawed technique like Hughes. Come on Sri Lanka!!!!!! You have my support until Hughes is dropped.

Posted by DylanBrah on (December 6, 2012, 8:57 GMT)

People obviously don't understand the importance of bringing a guy who has been dropped twice in at the right time.

Posted by DylanBrah on (December 6, 2012, 8:47 GMT)

Good reasoning in my opinion. Would have been stupid to throw Hughes to the wolves against an SA attack he looked uncomfortable against in the warm up matches. Quiney was the better option FOR THAT SERIES. He performed well in the warm up match. He unfortunately did not fire. Hughes is undeniably a better long term option.

Posted by VivtheGreatest on (December 6, 2012, 8:34 GMT)

Just shows how bare Australia's batting cupboard is when the selectors openly admit that they have to shield Test players , that too opening batsmen. LOL!! Bangladesh would have been an even better option

Posted by hhillbumper on (December 6, 2012, 8:25 GMT)

Aus pick Hughes which has just put them further away from the world number 1 spot.Cant wait to see his stumps flying in the summer sun.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 8:12 GMT)

Perhaps said selectors should look at Hughes' last lot of performances against SA. Two hundreds, not bad!

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 8:05 GMT)

Dont understand soft landing theory at all. Again one of those muddled thinking coming through. Why cant they say Quiney was first choice but he didnt perform so we are selecting Hughes. Why put this round and about answer ?

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 7:59 GMT)

Great news. Let's hope he cements his position.

Posted by unregisteredalien on (December 6, 2012, 7:59 GMT)

Johnson, the opening bowler who doesn't, and Hughes, the opening bat who won't. Dear oh dear oh dear. Presumably Hughes will take first drop and move Watson down to 4, although Watto would be better at 6 with Clarke and Hussey at 4 and 5. If Hughes really needs to be in the side (which I doubt) I'd sacrifice Warner, who they clearly want to be the next Hayden (stand and deliver) but is short on Test temperament and footwork, and I'd take Khawaja for number 3 instead. As for the bowlers, it MUST be time to look more seriously at McDermott Jr.

Posted by fan2011 on (December 6, 2012, 7:47 GMT)

oh thats just sad for quiney.. if they had thought he was a ready made No. 3 for SA he should have been given another run against Sri Lankans.. This is like you had sent Quiney to the Slaugher house... Older or younger it would have been always his dream to represent Australia.. Hughes can take another place, hussey is soon to retire, Clarke has maybe one maybe two years left in him.. Give quiney a run against us Sri Lankans let him build his confidence.. oh by the way we sri lankans are going to get Thrashed

Posted by tony122 on (December 6, 2012, 7:37 GMT)

This is the most absurd and hilarious reasoning I have ever witnessed in the cricketing world. If the Australian selectors felt Hughes was a long term potential there was no point in protecting him against the Proteas pace attack. I could have understood selectors choosing Quiney over him even if they felt Hughes was a better long term prospect if the reason was a simple Horses for Courses. But this kind of reasoning is absurd.

Posted by Wefinishthis on (December 6, 2012, 7:37 GMT)

None of this makes any sense. Rob Quiney as "a mature and ready-made option for No. 3."? Quiney has NO test experience and a very poor FC record. His pair was no surprise. Hughes on the other hand has multiple test centuries some of which were against an almost identical South Africa attack. But that's not even my main issue. What I really don't get is Hilfenhaus (who I affectionately call Uselesshaus). Why is it against decent opposition (ie England & SA) he always fails. He takes the new ball and his poor bowling and failure to take cheap top order wickets has majorly contributed to every series loss. Had we a better bowler than him, we could have won the Aus ashes series and this SA series and still been no.1. He only took 2 proper batsmen's wickets this series! (Smith and Du Plessis) and 4 tail-enders. That is appalling for an opening bowler, especially playing on a new-ball pitch like we had. His 'economical' bowling was not building pressure, he was playing the SA top order in.

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (December 6, 2012, 6:54 GMT)

Congratuaions to Hughes. Inevarity stated that they are very happy with Khawaja's progress and that he has resolved the things they asked of him, i am happy to hear that because it shows selectors are acknowledging improvements and attitude. Khawaja got 50 today in the chairman's game and he got 90 in the last Ryobi game against NSW so all signs are good.Khawaja will be in the team sometime this summer as he is next off the rank.

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (December 6, 2012, 6:44 GMT)

Hughes shouldn't have been dropped in 2009, he was in fantastic form. The pressure this placed on the young 20 year old was immense. This current selection panel seem to be handling the young players much better. I'm sure Hughes will flourish under these conditions.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 6:36 GMT)

Congrats to Hughes, it was always going to be he or Ussie. Still not seeing why they have kept Johnson in the xi? Why not give a Jackson Bird or a Ben Cutting the same opportunity that they are giving to Hughes? Johnson 12th man for mine.

Posted by hraghava on (December 6, 2012, 6:30 GMT)

Good Move! Hughes should partner Warner at the top, Watson needs to move down to take Huss' place, and Khwaja needs to come in at 3.

Posted by Mary_786 on (December 6, 2012, 6:22 GMT)

Firstly.... How many test teams out there would have (potentially) 7 or 11 batsman being left handed. Secondly... Khawaja must have made someone angry in the selection board, seriously... almost a 3rd of the tests of Hughes, no failures (granted not getting a big score hasn't helped his cause), a better technique and better performances on suspect wickets (look at his last score in Tassie). Yet Hughes gets the nod.... Don't get me wrong, Hughes numbers are impressive, but I think he'll still get out to the same balls... maybe not against Sri Lanka... but defiantly at the ashes. Be a lot of people saying "I told you so"

Posted by AhmedEsat on (December 6, 2012, 6:22 GMT)

Sorry...Not a great show of confidence by the selectors if he needed shielding

Posted by Saeed.Lodhi on (December 6, 2012, 6:22 GMT)

Usie was more deserving candidate !

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 6:15 GMT)

Personally I might have gone for doolan, more ponting-esque and right handed to complement the 2 left handers at the top or khawaja who is technically sound and a better player of spin. But hughes' monstrous runs this season are just undeniable. My only worry is that the top order needs stability not just a brilliant dashing innings one every 20 innings. I am not sure if Hughes can give that consistency. Lets hope for the best. He is a talented young batsman and deserves his chance.

Posted by Percy_Fender on (December 6, 2012, 6:09 GMT)

I wish the ACB selectors realise that Hughes will always have his weakness against the short ball. That cannot be wished away despite all their expectations that he is an effective replacement for an all time great like Ponting. In terms of defence and all round stroke play Usman Khwaja is the best youn batsman that I have seen from Australia at the moment.For me Shaun Marsh is a good bet and he should have been there.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 6, 2012, 5:50 GMT)

It also means that Australia have four openers in their top 7. If that lot can't see off the new ball then noone can.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (December 6, 2012, 5:49 GMT)

This means that Australia now have five left-handers in their top 7. Is it just my imagination or does Australia always seem to produce far more than its share of left-handed batsman? Two of the other three candidates were lefties too. I'm sure that Graham Swann will be licking his lips approaching the upcoming dual Ashes series, with his reputation (backed by statistics) against left-handers. Rangana Herath is probably not well pleased for the upcoming Australia/SL series.

Posted by HatsforBats on (December 6, 2012, 5:38 GMT)

Surely this means Watson moves down to at least 4. Happy for Hughes. Everyone is well aware of his talent and how he was done a disservice by Hilditch & Neilsen (and then inexplicably picked for the ashes when out of form). He seems to have reached a place where he's comfortable with his changed technique and is scoring freely on both sides of the wicket. My one concern is whether he has worked on his fielding (his throwing is awful). Also, I may be old fashioned, but can a right-hander please start scoring some runs! Four of the top six...Swann will be looking forward to the Ashes.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 5:37 GMT)

Massive error selecting Phillip Hughes.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 5:35 GMT)

This is another massive error in Australia cricket. Why cant give another chance to Usman Khawaja?

Posted by Fleming_Mitch on (December 6, 2012, 5:32 GMT)

I am a big fan of Clarke and in his ability to pick the best team around. I sincerly hope he didn't influence the selection decision to pick Hughes given they are close because Hughes still needs more time to fix his game up. Only 10 months ago he went through the Guptill Martin episode, and we can't have him fail a third time. I would have got Khawaja in given he is the best number 3 in the country. I do like the fact that Inevarity acknowledged Khawaja's great progress since comign to the Bulls and hopefully he is close to a callup this summer. Long term we need Khawaja in the side as he is among the best players of swing bowling in Ausralia as seen from his runs this year, all made on very difficult decks.

Posted by PrasPunter on (December 6, 2012, 5:32 GMT)

hope Hughesy gets as successful as Punter as and score and win a lot for Australia. With Khawaja coming in going to be a matter of time, hope these folks do what the legends of the past has done to us ! God bless Aus !!

Posted by Emancipator007 on (December 6, 2012, 5:22 GMT)

@Meety,Biggus,OZZies, please fight for Cal Ferguson's inclusion;does't matter what his FC average is.It took me just few balls of an IPL match to discern his Test-ready class/batting assuredness. Similar to what I had seen in Pujara in IPL 2010 (and years earlier in Ganguly & Sehwag).It took me just 1 innings to watch Faf for 1st time in 2012 World T20 to wonder why SA does not give him Tests as against persisting with underperforming Rudolph. Does it mean selectors in both OZ & India (countries with superb batting creds& proven greats) are BLIND & just go by plain records?It is shocking that OZ allowed players such as Hughes,North to play so many Tests with paltry returns/averages.Oh what would cussedly ambitious Hodge have done to play just 30 Tests & rack up 2000 Test runs.Similarly, India has allowed Raina & Yuvraj to play so many Tests with pathetic returns when Test-ready players like Rahane,Rohit (FORGET his ODI stints, he has NEVER been given a Test yet),Badrinath,Tiwaryabound

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 5:20 GMT)

senseless selection, based on unknown reasons.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (December 6, 2012, 5:13 GMT)

I think Khawaja deserved the spot because it was number 3 but it was great to hear Inevarity say that Khawaja is next off the rank and that they are very pleased with him. I f i was Khawaja i wouldn't get too frustrated, he is next off the rank and we will need quality batsman like him around if there is another injury and to keep the top order honest. Best young batsman in the country in my view and a great representative for Asian migrants in Australia

Posted by Artiebees on (December 6, 2012, 5:12 GMT)

Just desserts for Hughes really, he's been scoring nicely since the horrors of c Guptill b Martin. Sri Lanka should give him an opportunity to assert his place and build confidence.

Posted by Mary_786 on (December 6, 2012, 5:10 GMT)

I would have gone for Khawaja, but both Huges and Khawaja are the future prospects for Aussies. Aussies should include them in all test matches so that they could build themselves to be solid batsman for them. Both are highly talented young players if they keep playing for 2 year continuously then they could become more reliable players for Aussies. Selector's please don't waste time in selecting Quiney or players more than 26 years old. Give these two a chance to play for Australia for next 2 years. There is a great chance of Aussies retaining and maintaining No.1 Spot. Still they need to find agood spin bowler and consistent fast bowler.

Posted by Hammond on (December 6, 2012, 5:09 GMT)

Exciting young player, but technically a mess. Like for like as far as results will show I'm afraid.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 5:06 GMT)

Great to see Hughes back He will play 100 tests

Posted by anver777 on (December 6, 2012, 5:00 GMT)

Yet another opportunity to this talented lad who started his career brightly but couldn't continue in the same manner. If he fails again then the door will open again for Khawaja..... lets see how he goes against SL !!!!

Posted by RoJayao on (December 6, 2012, 4:59 GMT)

Should be a nice cushy return for Hughes, easy runs likely at the top of the order against Sri Lanka. That doesn't mean England won't be relishing his return! Maybe number 3 is his spot, but I doubt it. Certainly not Watsons though.

Posted by Dashgar on (December 6, 2012, 4:56 GMT)

Hughes and Johnson. Must be a bad dream. I'll wake up soon.

Posted by here2rock on (December 6, 2012, 4:49 GMT)

A good choice, Phill Hughes will find the SL bowling a lot easier than state sides. There is no real threat in SL side with no Malinga or Murali, Australian batsman should have a feast after facing South Africa.

Posted by kriketeer on (December 6, 2012, 4:47 GMT)

Resting Peter siddle for the last test was the reason i believe australia lost the series........ Lot of if's and but's when one loses....... But it would have been better to give him a rest for the less competent srilanka series.....

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 4:47 GMT)

I seriously think bringing Hughes is a safe decision but not the most bright decision. With due respect to Hughes talent, i think somebody like a Fergusson or Doolan should have been tried bearing in mind the fact that Lankans dont have a very strong attack. It was a chance to bring in a new guy and create backups for future series. Hughes has been tried in the past with limited success and could have still forced his way at the expense of one of the top order guy in the not so distant future.

Posted by disco_bob on (December 6, 2012, 4:41 GMT)

I have a lot of faith in Hughes. After his initial unfair dropping and reinstatement it just seemed to pile on the pressure. If he's solved his nick to first slip problem then he'll be a big weapon in the Ashes.

Posted by sheenu on (December 6, 2012, 4:32 GMT)

It is as hard to imagine an Australian test team without Ricky Ponting as it is to imagine an Indian team without Rahul Dravid. It will take some time for that to sink in. But the game will move on.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 4:27 GMT)

We are no doubt going to go into the Ashes series with one less batsman. Yes...................Phil Hughes has just been named as Ricky Ponting's replacement.

My prediction:

1. In 3 Tests against an undermanned Sri Lankan bowling attack on flat batting tracks he will average 32. Just not bad enough to get dropped.

2. He will retain his spot in the Ashes touring party and will average 12 in the first 3 Tests before being dropped. Those 12 runs will come from streaky shots though 4th. Slip and over point.

So with one batsman down in the first 3 Tests. We will be chasing victory in the last 2 Tests to see if we can draw the series (assuming one of the first 3 will be rain effected).

DISCLAIMER: The author of this note thinks that Phil Hughes is a flat track bully who will again be found out on pitches that provide any sideways movement.

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (December 6, 2012, 4:26 GMT)

C'mon Hughesy. Ton from you son.

Posted by cricketdotcom on (December 6, 2012, 4:23 GMT)

where is Kurtis & Turner I think Both deserve a place with Sri Lanka in home series bcz both has a potential. ok wait................... 4 Turn ..........

Posted by Ravendark on (December 6, 2012, 4:22 GMT)

They say third time's a charm. Hughes must take this chance with both hands.

Disappointed that Khawaja didn't get a run too.

Posted by jonesy2 on (December 6, 2012, 4:21 GMT)

its a good call to get hughes straight in there, anyone who has seen him bat this year knows how remarkable his improvement and development has been, i mean he has a wicked pull shot now when he could never play that shot, thats just one example. and he will continue to develop and get better and better he is only 24. still staggered the usman isnt getting through though but i guess he is the next in line. still cant understant how quiney is in consideration over the likes of joe burns or even someone like nic maddinson

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 4:08 GMT)

Clark should be at first drop at 3. This is a critical position for the best, most consistant and experienced batsman, bot for someone coming into the side. Drop Hughes down to 4 or 5 until he gets his skills and confidence up at test level. Then gradually move him up the order to his natural position as an opener (not #3)

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 4:05 GMT)

Welcome back Hughesy. I hope you stay in the team for a long time.

Posted by BurmaStu on (December 6, 2012, 4:01 GMT)

Damn, and the Redbacks were just starting to do okay. Now where are they going to get the runs needed to take points? But seriously, Hughes has got to be the right man for the job, as long as he's not facing the Phantom.

Posted by Arunnagasamy on (December 6, 2012, 3:58 GMT)

Suitable Batting Order : Phillip Hughes,David Warner,Ed Cowan,Shane Watson,Michael Clarke, MIchael Hussey,Mattew Wade,Ben Hilfenhaus,Peter Siddle,Mitchell Johnson,Nathan lyon

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (December 6, 2012, 3:57 GMT)

Well, I just hope that either Philip Hughes has learned to fix his technique that was so exposed in his latest ventures into test cricket - or alternatively that Sri Lanka don't have good coaches. Otherwise, he is doomed to fail. This looks like a very, very bad decision brought on by weight of runs rather than ability to actually succeed at test level.

Posted by zenboomerang on (December 6, 2012, 3:53 GMT)

Not too worried with Hughes selection - the only other contender is Ussie atm... Much more interested in what Clarke does with the batting order... Watto is obviously in the team, but I have pushed for years on his move back down to no.6 & still believe it is the best thing for both the team & Watto... The pitch is very different at Bellerive, so would expect Hilfy, Sidds as certain starters with hopefully Starc - Johnson is reserve for me - though I would have liked to see Bird or Butterworth on their home pitch...

Posted by DylanBrah on (December 6, 2012, 3:45 GMT)

I am a Queenslander and think this is the best choice. He is Australia's most talented young batsmen with the stats to back it up. He has a great attitude and is an absolute workhorse who loves the game. I wish him all the best. Khawaja can keep his head up because he is not far off selection; he just has to keep making runs consistently.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 3:37 GMT)

Worst. Decision. Ever. Australian cricket should be looking forward, not back to a guy like Hughes!

Posted by TopC on (December 6, 2012, 3:35 GMT)

I think he's worth another try !!

Posted by Buckers410 on (December 6, 2012, 3:32 GMT)

What about Ben Cutting? What more can he do to warrant selection. He has even made a century!!!! Chose players who are in form!

Posted by wix99 on (December 6, 2012, 3:31 GMT)

For all those disappointed that Usman Khawaja missed out, don't worry. It won't be long before Hughes replaces Warner in the opening position and then Khawaja will be the new No. 3.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 3:31 GMT)

HE has his chances, I would feel a lot better if it was Doolan or Khawaja, they just seem more stable players. If Hughes is playing, open with Warner and get Cowan at 3 with a bit more technique than Hughes

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 3:23 GMT)

I would've taken Khawaja over Hughes. Despite Hughes technique being 'Fixed up' I still think Khawaja has a better base of shots than Hughes. Just look at him go in the Tour match right now!

Posted by Heisenburg on (December 6, 2012, 3:23 GMT)

I've heard that Hughes is going to bat at 3 and Watson at 4, this is ridiculous. Instead of 3/50 we're going to be 4/50 and rely on Clarke and Hussey to save us every time, we need stability throughout the batting order, 1) Warner 2) Cowan 3) Clarke 4) Hughes 5) Hussey 6) Watson 7) Wade

Posted by Meety on (December 6, 2012, 3:21 GMT)

Whilst I'd prefer Starc to play against Sri Lanka - I have no problem with MJ, I just think it is one or the other as I don't want 2 lefties. It will be interesting to see what the curator dishes up given last year's Green Monster. IF, it is anything like last year, I would say that there is a better case for not playing Lyon than at the WACA.

Posted by   on (December 6, 2012, 3:19 GMT)

its the right time to give chance to hughes. he has made few adjustments to his batting. he scores freely down the legside and pull or hook against short ball. he also got the runs in the shield cricket averaging more than 50 this season and also second highest run gater in ryobi cricket. khawaja and doolan must be the next batsmen in line if any injury or bad form of certain players comes.

Posted by HawK89 on (December 6, 2012, 3:17 GMT)

What a joke, he still looked exactly the same during the SA warmup matches in AUS. The AUS top order will yet again be fragile, and Clarke will have to carry the team for a chance at winning. He won't have Mr Cricket for long, to help him dig out of these situations.

Posted by satish619chandar on (December 6, 2012, 3:15 GMT)

Hughes picked.. So Watson moves to the middle order? Decent decision. I would like Cowan to move to No.3 slot.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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