Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st ODI, Melbourne

Hughes hopes to stamp one-day authority

Brydon Coverdale

January 8, 2013

Comments: 52 | Text size: A | A

Phillip Hughes works one through the leg side, South Australia v Queensland, Ryobi Cup, Adelaide, October 21, 2012
Phillip Hughes has been in fine one-day form over the past couple of years © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Aaron Finch | Phillip Hughes | Usman Khawaja
Series/Tournaments: Sri Lanka tour of Australia
Teams: Australia

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

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Posted by Jaffa79 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?

Posted by Meety 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!

Posted by Jaffa79 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.

Posted by hyclass 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.

Posted by hyclass on (January 10, 2013, 5:14 GMT)

@popcorn...you 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.

Posted by Meety 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!

Posted by OzWally 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?

Posted by Jaffa79 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!

Posted by WheresTheEmpire 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.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK 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)

Posted by Jayzuz on (January 9, 2013, 13:06 GMT)

@Bradman_the_greatest, I think you are over rating Anderson. He's good when conditions suit, but can be ineffective as soon as the wicket dries out, as seen in the 1st test vs SA in England, where there wasn't a drop of rain, and barely a cloud all test.

Posted by WheresTheEmpire on (January 9, 2013, 11:28 GMT)

@R_U_4_REAL_NICK So banter is only allowed to be one-sided in your eyes?

Posted by hotcric01 on (January 9, 2013, 3:12 GMT)

@Big -dog,Hughes and khawaja are uncapped in ODI format.

Posted by HowdyRowdy on (January 9, 2013, 2:35 GMT)

Hughes' ability in the field needs to be part of his evaluation as a short form player. It has not be a plus for him previously, so he will need to show better skill levels when fielding.

The same challenge was put to Khawaja and apparently he has stepped up. He looked OK to me in last night's BBL match. Let's see whether Hughes can match that.

Posted by Jayzuz on (January 9, 2013, 0:50 GMT)

@Milhouse79, if we listened to you we'd all believe that everything Australian was terrible and incapable of ever learning, improving or developing. There's a much better crop of fast bowlers getting round in the Australian 1st class scene than in England, and Hughes has done very well against them recently, at a time when administrators are ordering more lively pitches. You are stuck in the past. One has to wonder why you actually haven't quite cottoned onto the fact that your instant denunciation of all things Australian isn't a massive case of projection. Nothing always terrible all of the time, not even Broad's and Bresnan's bowling.

Posted by Meety on (January 9, 2013, 0:16 GMT)

@Moppa on (January 08 2013, 21:07 PM GMT) - that's a big YES from me! It often isn't backed up (I hope I am wrong in this case)! It was refreshing when Cowan did say he was looking to be more positive against the Saffas & then came out & belted a good ton!

Posted by RandyOZ on (January 9, 2013, 0:08 GMT)

We all know how good Hughes is, and the Poms know especially as he absolutely destroyed the (albeit weak) County circuit. Expect another tonne of runs from Phil!

Posted by hycIass on (January 8, 2013, 23:47 GMT)

Hughes and Khawaja will both do well. I was a critic of Khawaja early in the season but he has proven me wrong with runs at all levels and aggression he didn't have in his game last year, well deserved call to the ODI team.

Posted by ozziespirit on (January 8, 2013, 23:21 GMT)

Hughes has had his day in test cricket, I can't see him being anything other than Anderson's Bunny. His future lies with ODI's. We need to look elsewhere for that no.3 test spot.

Posted by PFEL on (January 8, 2013, 22:59 GMT)

@Big-Dog, yes Hughes & Khawaja are uncapped. They will be making their ODI debuts.

Posted by Kolpak1989 on (January 8, 2013, 22:21 GMT)

@Front-Foot-Lunge, England's long dominance? Two series? Hahaha, I guess that must seem like an age to an Englishman. Enjoy it while it lasts mate, it won't last long. You're right that we can beat the minnows though, something that England failed to achieve just last year. What a joke your team is.

Posted by chicko1983 on (January 8, 2013, 21:54 GMT)

hahaha Front-Foot-Lunch, classic and misinformed comment as always. How did Wright and Prior do in the minnow big bash? Couldnt score a run. How did Hughes go carving up the weak English county bowlers last year? Topped the run scoring table. Cant wait to see Warner (who at this stage of his career is doing better than Cook was) and Hughes take on the "best ever" english bowling attack. Jimmy Anderson has a worse Ashes record than Mitchell Johnson (who is about 7 or 8th in our bowling pecking order now)!

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (January 8, 2013, 21:48 GMT)

I think this will be a very good test for Hughes, Finch and Khawaja, Malinga, Herath, Mendhis won't be easy, good luck to them all, they deserve their spots.

Posted by Moppa on (January 8, 2013, 21:07 GMT)

Anyone else sick of reading about what an Australian batsman *wants* to do, as opposed to what they have actually done? The main culprit has been Watto, and he hardly ever did what he said he wanted to do. I hope Hughes doesn't fall into the same trap!

Posted by Jaffa79 on (January 8, 2013, 20:57 GMT)

The problem with Hughes is that whilst he can on occassion get runs, he does always look awful. His technique looks like a tailender. He flashes and swishes outside off stump like a novice and plays the short stuff like a rabbit in the headlights. He gets ugly runs and needs to get as many as he can because he will always attract attention when he gets out to quality quick bowling due to that schoolboy technique. Do remember Aussies who read this, that your coach protected Hughes from the South African bowlers on a road in the recent series. What does this tell you about their faith in his technique? Get Chris Rogers to do a proper job for 2 years and hope and pray a proper batsman comes along after that.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (January 8, 2013, 20:36 GMT)

FFL - So South Africa are a minnow? I cant recall anyone calling him the next Bradman but he will be a very good player.

Posted by R_U_4_REAL_NICK on (January 8, 2013, 20:33 GMT)

@WheresTheEmpire (post on January 08 2013, 18:41 PM GMT): so where exactly is this "frenzy of English trolling?" Scrolling down, I only see one funny comment from the usual culprit.

The talent of the likes of Hughes and Warner in the shorter formats I don't recall ever being questioned by even the most avid England fans. In tests, however, there is still a big question mark over them against quality bowling, particularly when some steadfastness is needed from them. Like many level-headed posters on here, I agree that Hughes's stint in English county cricket has clearly done him the world of good, and yet we still get Aus. trolls narking on and on about how useless and talentless the English circuit is.

Posted by Big-Dog on (January 8, 2013, 20:31 GMT)

@mick82. Hughes & khawaja are not uncapped.

Posted by WheresTheEmpire on (January 8, 2013, 18:41 GMT)

The frenzy of English trolling tells us that panic has set in back in Old 'Blighted'. Aus teams have a habit of arriving in England with virtual unknowns who turn into stars that scare the drawers off the locals (think Lillee, Thommo, Warne ...). The monster that is Aus cricket is stirring in the deep and coming to a minnow-sized ground near you in England. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Posted by landl47 on (January 8, 2013, 15:37 GMT)

I'm amazed that Hughes hasn't been automatic for Aus in ODIs over the last couple of years. Where does Hughes get out? Caught in the slips or gully. What is notable about the fields set in ODIs? After the first couple of overs, there are no slips or gully! Give him a few games to get settled in and he'll make a bunch of runs. He still has to prove against a quality attack that he can play tests (although his technique did look much better against SL), but in ODIs he should be a natural.

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (January 8, 2013, 15:35 GMT)

Hughes, aka "The next Bradman" Those who famously spoke those words prior to the start of England's long dominance certainly have egg on their faces now.

One Christmas Minnow Big Bash and suddenly things don't look so bad for Australia after all: if they can play against the fellow minnow teams, then that must be good preparation for playing the top teams in the world like England?.....

Posted by   on (January 8, 2013, 14:58 GMT)

I'm hoping Hughes is going to bat 3 and that they'll leave him there. Looking at his record and those of his contemperaries he is undoubtedly the batsman of his generation. Very big statement I know but his talent has surely never been in question and right now he looks to be confident, full of runs and he is batting very well. Australia's best bat should always bat at three and with so many other guys around that can open in Watson, Warner, Wade, Finch and Haddin then the best place for him is to be given no.3 and left there where he can find his feet and start winning matches. ODI cricket is all about one of the top order going big at a good clip and he's more than capable.

Posted by   on (January 8, 2013, 14:50 GMT)

@Shaggy, I don't see that happening. If he is comfortable talking to the media I don't see the problem myself, that is just how sport is these days and obviously there is plenty of interest or we wouldn't be here talking about it! @Gordo85, I actually see Hughes as being one of those guys that when set actually goes on to get more centuries than most. His conversion rate at FC level is very good and he has scored some big tons already at test level. Two successive 80's does not mean he is going to suddenly stop scoring big every time he makes a start.

Posted by Gordo85 on (January 8, 2013, 12:52 GMT)

The main problem with Hughes is at Test level he just can't seem to push on and make a 100. I am all for him playing all three formats for Australia provided that he deserves a spot in all the teams. I just don't want him getting picked because to Arthur he says "There is noone else out there" In other words that is giving him the fredom to fail but yet get selected anyway. Very simular to Lyon at Test level for eg.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (January 8, 2013, 12:39 GMT)

Its time for Cricket Australia to step in and shield Hughes from the media. Its ahis third comeback to the test team and first crack at one day cricket yet there are never ending articles of Hughes saying he must take this chance, he has improved etc etc. Personally, Hughes Mark 3 looks a very good player but its time to step away from the media and start putting the runs on the board before any further comments.

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (January 8, 2013, 10:59 GMT)

@MaximPayne well said hopefully boht Khawaja and Hughes do well, both have almost mirrrored each other in their performances, dominating in shield and Ryobi and well deserved. I hope they become long term fixtures in the ODI side. Watched Khawaja tonight in the big bash against the Stars and he looked in very good form.

Posted by RaadQ on (January 8, 2013, 10:59 GMT)

Hughes will do good in the ODIs. Then the Indian tour and the Ashes will see him perform poorly and getting dropped from Tests. I do not see him with the ability to play Indian spin on home soil nor English pace on their soil. It took the best British batsman two tours (UAE and Lanka) before they could play in India.

Posted by   on (January 8, 2013, 10:50 GMT)

@Nerk, well written, I think George Bailey can take that role of picking singles through the middles overs to prepare for a late blitz, the issue is though is he's nothing compared to Hussey or Clarke etc. & we really do need to find a young talent who's willing to tough it through ODI's also, perhaps Hughes may even surprise us

Posted by Mervo on (January 8, 2013, 10:38 GMT)

You can coach technique but you can't coach brains and therein lies Hughes problem. To compare him to Bevan and all the international games he helped to win, is ridiculous.

Posted by VicPride on (January 8, 2013, 9:46 GMT)

Aaron Finch will absolutely destroy Sri Lanka! Get ready for the Victorian to impress the world here guys!

Posted by Charlie101 on (January 8, 2013, 9:34 GMT)

Hughes's technique has benefited from a spell in English County cricket and he has learnt to use his feet and is a much more complete player

Posted by Busie1979 on (January 8, 2013, 9:26 GMT)

Sad state of ODI cricket if the selectors are picking the national team to keep players from playing domestic T20 cricket. ODI cricket is dead.

Posted by   on (January 8, 2013, 8:55 GMT)

I understand the selectors shielding Hughes from ODIs, his technique has really benefited from the selectors valuing his test match skills, same with Khawaja. I hope they both do well and settle into some good form ahead of India. Finch has been playing well this season and loves the MCG pitch, so he is also a good selection.

Posted by Meety on (January 8, 2013, 8:20 GMT)

@Big-Dog on (January 08 2013, 07:22 AM GMT) - mate your 1st sentence is really, really insightful - LOL! As far as Bailey & the poisoned chalise - what if Oz win? == == == This is an inexperienced Oz side, but for one reason or another, all the players have claims that were worthy of being capped earlier in their careers. SL better watch out as this team looks pretty good to me!

Posted by   on (January 8, 2013, 7:59 GMT)

SL have real chance here to win if they play sensible cricket....

Posted by mick82 on (January 8, 2013, 7:52 GMT)

@Big-Dog No kidding mate thats why theyre uncapped

Posted by KhanMitch on (January 8, 2013, 7:42 GMT)

Big Dog both Khawaja and Hughes have been scoring heavily in Ryobi, of course they have yet to prove themeslves at the top level as this is their first chance but i predict that both will do well, that is assuming what Macca said and they get to bat in the top 3.

Posted by Big-Dog on (January 8, 2013, 7:22 GMT)

I think there is still a question mark over Hughes, Khawaja & Finch at this level. Bailey has been handed a poisoned chalice as captain in what can only be described as an Australia A side.

Posted by Mary_786 on (January 8, 2013, 7:20 GMT)

Both Hughes and Khawaja have been scoring heavily in Ryobi cup for SA and Bulls this year and i predict that both will do well in the coming games, the key for the selectors will be to bat both of them in the top 3 so they can show what they can do in this format and not put them in the middle order.

Posted by SamRoy on (January 8, 2013, 7:12 GMT)

Though Bailey has done well as a batsman how long is he going to captain Australia?

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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