Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Melbourne January 8, 2013

Hughes hopes to stamp one-day authority


There's nothing like being picked while in form, and Phillip Hughes is in the one-day form of his life. If Bradman had played 50-over cricket he might have produced the kind of scores that Hughes has in the past two years. Consider this remarkable figure: in 14 of his past 20 one-day innings, Hughes has scored at least a half-century. In that time, a period that stretches back to December 2010, he has averaged 90.28. Among Australians, only Michael Bevan has a higher List A average than Hughes.

And yet until now, Hughes has been considered a Test specialist by Australia's selectors. When he walks out at the MCG on Friday in the first ODI against Sri Lanka, it will be his first limited-overs game for his country. Of course, it's not easy breaking in to a top order that usually features David Warner, Shane Watson and Michael Clarke. But none of those men, nor Matthew Wade, are part of this ODI squad.

It means Australia will likely employ a top three consisting entirely of uncapped men: Hughes, Aaron Finch and Usman Khawaja. The selectors are juggling a number of factors - resting some players, keeping Hughes and Khawaja away from the BBL in preparation for the India tour, planning ahead to the 2015 World Cup. Not all of the new men will keep their places, but Hughes hopes he can do enough to remain in the side when others return.

"It's an opportunity for guys coming in now, there's a few new faces around the squad," Hughes said. "For those guys resting for the first couple of games, they play that much cricket and I'm sure they'll come back fresh and bigger and better. It does allow guys now to get that opportunity ... now given this opportunity I'm grateful for it and hopefully I can stamp my authority in this format.

"My focus has been all three formats. I want to be that complete batsman playing three forms hopefully one day. There's still work I've got to do but for this opportunity to come up I'm grateful for it. I've had a fair taste of Test cricket now but never in the short format, so that's why I'm rapt about getting this chance."

There is nothing about Hughes' game that suggests he should ever have been considered a Test-only player. Powerful through the off side and naturally aggressive, Hughes bats in a way that should transfer to ODI cricket. His style has helped him score 114, 95 not out and 73 from three of his five Ryobi Cup innings this summer, and he was one of the leading scorers in the Clydesdale Bank 40-over competition last year, playing for Worcestershire.

"It's a format that you've got to really attack and that's probably my natural game," Hughes said. "The instincts take over and I really like to attack and get on that front foot and take the game forward. I feel like I've worked on a number of shots, especially through the leg side, over the last six to 12 months. Hopefully I can take that into this series.

"I feel like I've come a long way in one-day cricket. I had a stint in county cricket with Worcestershire and I felt like I performed quite well, and at the start of the season for South Australia. There's work that I had to do and I feel like I'm quite confident in my one-day game now. I'm really grateful for this opportunity and hopefully I can make the most of it."

Although the Australians have not yet confirmed a batting order, the likelihood is that Hughes will open with Finch, although Khawaja is another option, having opened for Queensland with success this season. All three are likely to make their debuts on Friday, while the Queensland bowling allrounder Ben Cutting is also a chance to earn his first ODI cap, in a side that will be captained by George Bailey.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Colin on January 11, 2013, 15:59 GMT

    Meety - We have thrown the toys haven't we? So DECENT poms are the ones that agree with you? Wow, your really are arrogant aren't you? The ODI series was meaningless? I can't believe you'd say that if you'd won but oh well. I think you'll find it your prick your open those blinkers of yours, that you'll find many people have noticed that Lyon does not turn the ball much. Many people, including Healy, have questioned Wade's keeping and many people question your injury prone bowling. You seem to compare Pattinson and Anderson? How? Pattinson has only bowled against 4 teams: an over the hill Indian batting line up (against whom everyone filled their boots) , the weakest NZ batting line up for years (half his wickets), the Windies and SA, against whom he struggled. When he plays 30 tests, then lets see. Anderson has been consistently one of the best bowlers for about 4 years now. You say troll to cover your inability for perspective. Grow up mate. Are you a teenager by any chance?

  • Andrew on January 11, 2013, 3:37 GMT

    @Milhouse79 on (January 10 2013, 23:53 PM GMT) - actually - I don't have to accept borderline trolls POVs. I enjoy different opinions based on fact. If you wish to cling to the result of a meaningless ODI encounter that's fine, prepared to be royally pantsed in a few months time. Actually MOST decent Pommy fans accept that we have plenty of pace talent coming thru, it's unfortunate that you & your alter-ego FFL bring their standards down! re" no-spin Lyon", interesting that in 6 tests Swann's ave v Sth Africa is over 38, - Lyon in 5 Tests is 37! Oh dear! Pattinson's ave of 38 against Sth Africa hey? How about these apples v Sth Africa - the bowling averages for Anderson 41 & Broad 40 - hmmm, I think that is not as good as Patto. As for NZ, in case you didn't notice, but NZ matched England's efforts in Sri Lanka! LOL! Oh dear, don't give up your day job!

  • Colin on January 10, 2013, 23:53 GMT

    @Meety You seem to struggle with different opinions to yours. There are many Poms, South African & Indians that have questioned the strength of this Australian team so pull your neck in mate and stop being so precious. Your opinion (of which you are entitled) about the Australian stocks of seam bowling is up to you, I seem to remember lots of big talk from the Aussies about all of their bowlers 'above 150 clicks' before the recent ODI series between Eng and Aus and Finn outbowled all of them. A KP-less England smashed the Aussie bowlers all over. Pattinson, by the way has gotten nearly half of his Test wickets against NZ and averages 38 against SA and 40 against WI. Siddle is an honest toiler but wasn't he a part of the attack smashed around by Cook and co last time out? Starc is a prospect but nothing to lose sleep over. You can keep Wade as he can't catch! Awful keeper! Doesn't matter if Lyon is 24 or 34 mate...he can't spin it! Get the chip off your shoulder and accept other views.

  • Christopher on January 10, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    Over the last 3 years public statements have backfired on all Aus players.SL are an excellent ODI side & the inclusion of Malinga is a bonus.There are varying views on Hughes abilities.I prefer to base mine on evidence.Leading into the '09 Ashes,he was a world beater.From late in the Shield season until the first Ashes game,he scored 1637 runs in 10 games at 96 with 8 centuries. In scoring 2 of those-115 & 160 in the 2nd Test v SA in SA, he became the youngest ever to do so.The attack of Steyn, Morkel,Harris,Ntini & Kallis had then 1100 wickets between them. Youtube video shows a disciplined & aggressive high 140km/h attack setting traps and being bettered.His Test & 1st class ave were in the 60's.Long time mentor De Costa stated on public record that he was forced to prepare his game in a way unsuited to him on joining the Ashes squad. From there, he went downhill, playing an obviously different game to SA. His Ashes scores were 36,4 & 17-the last bounced short of Strauss-Test ave-58.

  • Christopher on January 10, 2013, 5:14 GMT make some good points. Bevan's Test average of 29 and S/R of 39 are almost identical to Khawaja's. Of course Bevan's 1st class record of 68 centuries and an average of 57 were far superior. As Khawaja's 1st class average of 43 is still 11 runs below where it was when he was first picked for Tests and his Shield average of 39 this season is mediocre to follow up his last Shield season average of 29, perhaps the ODI side will work for him. He has scored 3 x 50's in 5 List A games this season which is more promising, though his List A average is still 9 runs lower than Hughes overall. It's rare for the Chairman of Selectors to publicly single out a player for harsh criticism, but Inverarity unusually chose to do so with Khawaja with respect to his inconsistent batting and lethargic running and fielding. I prefer that the selectors keep such criticisms private. Khawaja has always been capable and it would be nice if his game advanced in line with his potential this year.

  • Andrew on January 10, 2013, 0:20 GMT

    @Milhouse79 on (January 09 2013, 14:31 PM GMT) - name a current English bowler( who hasn't gorged on Bangladesh wickets (Finn)) who has better stats than Starc, Siddle & Pattinson? You can't, our pace stocks are better & more plentiful than yours - full stop. Prior's best asset is his batting, his keeping has improved, but he was terrible when he 1st played for England. I would take a 24 year old Wade over a 24 year old Prior ANY DAY of the week. As for Lyon, again, what was Swann doing at 24 years of age? He certainly did not have 19 tests & 60 test wickets to his name! You are a borderline troll & your opinions are next to worthless! Go follow Baseball, which it appears is where your best suited!

  • Anthony on January 9, 2013, 22:19 GMT

    Depending on whether you look at things glass half full or half empty, this Australian side (for the first couple of games) could be an exciting young group to watch, or a total train wreck.

    But let's face it, other than the ticket buying public, who really cares whether their team wins or loses in these meaningless one day series? Everyone qualifies for the World Cup no matter what. So until then, aren't these games just for the countries that can't compete in Test cricket chances to feel good about themselves?

  • Colin on January 9, 2013, 14:31 GMT

    Jayzuz - I don't think all is bad with Australia but there are serious problems within the team that can't be ignored. I know it is hard for Autralians and their self righteous belief that Aussies are born to win cricket games but it is the cold hard truth. Very poor batting, an average spin bowler and a keeper who can't catch. Good crop of Aussie quicks? I do like Bird, altough a greater test than Sri Lanka is needed before a full understanding of his talent can be assessed. The others? They are all crocks and can't do more than one game without breaking down. You have a lot of quick bowlers but I'd rather have Jimmy, Broad, Finn, Onions and possibly Tremlett and Meaker. Also, Jimmy struggles when the pitch dries out? Did you watch the tests in India?? Not many greentops over there pal!

  • xxxxx on January 9, 2013, 14:29 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK "Irony is jesting behind hidden gravity" (John Weiss). Perhaps the jesting was little too hidden in my original comment. I hope to see a couple of stars emerge from this developing Aus team in the next Ashes, but above all I hope to see some attractive test cricket, a close series and lots of the inevitable banter on and off the field. Will Hughes be one of the emerging stars? I like the mavericks and characters of any team, so I hope so. Only time will tell - that's part of the fascination and drama of test cricket.

  • Nicholas on January 9, 2013, 13:14 GMT

    @WheresTheEmpire (post on January 09 2013, 11:28 AM GMT): Of course not - I just wouldn't call one post from the dark side a "frenzy". You want to see a 'frenzy' of troll posts? Go to pretty much any England thread and look for the person who posted 10 people after me on this page... Often it's just a copy-and-paste job throughout every available story as well, regardless of the subject.

    So you reckon the likes of Hughes is an Ashes sealer then? (Genuine question)