Australia in South Africa 2011-12 October 22, 2011

We know how to bowl to Hughes now - Steyn

ESPNcricinfo staff
35

South Africa's spearhead Dale Steyn has said Phillip Hughes will not have it quite so easy on his return to the scene of a remarkably successful debut series in 2009.

Hughes made 415 runs in the three Tests including a century in each innings of the second match in Durban, a pivotal contribution as Australia took an unbeatable 2-0 lead. However Steyn said Hughes' runs arrived at least partly because the home side did not know how to bowl at him, and would be far better equipped this time.

''Not to take anything away from Phillip, he played unbelievably well against us when he came here and it looked like we didn't know where to bowl to him in all honesty, and that's, I think, why he got off to such a fantastic start,'' Steyn told The Age. ''England is the team that really sorted him out and since he scored those two hundreds against us I don't think he got another one until the last Test in Sri Lanka.''

Steyn said the 2009 team had bowled too impetuously at Hughes, in contrast to the relentless lines of attack England used in both the 2009 and 2010-11 Ashes series, in which Hughes did not once pass 50 in five matches.

''From what I remember we bowled too wide to him,'' Steyn said. ''One of the things we said was that we didn't want to bowl wide to him, and then we did. It was one of those childish things where you say to a kid, 'don't touch the frying pan, you're going to burn yourself', and then you end up touching the frying pan and burn yourself.

"The English side found a way of getting him out, and quite easily getting him out, so I will go through those videos. I'm a little bit wiser, a little bit smarter now. Obviously he opens the batting for Australia, so anybody who is a good player can score runs somewhere along the line, but he will definitely have his weaknesses.

"We haven't played a lot against him since then, so I will have to go through a couple of things and see where we went wrong and hopefully we can rectify that.''

Steyn also expressed surprise that Simon Katich was not still a part of the Australian squad, having lost his Cricket Australia contract in mid-year. Katich was also successful at the top of the order in the 2009 series.

''The way he moves around the crease, he is able to control where he wants to hit the ball. It's incredible,'' Steyn said. ''It's surprising that he is not there because he is one of those real Aussie players, a gutsy, strong character. He even looks like the epitome of an Australian opening batsman from years back.

"In a weird way I'm quite happy he's not playing, but you want to compete against guys like that, and for his sake I think he should be there.''

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Marktc on October 25, 2011, 11:59 GMT

    Good to see the test mind wars starting. That is what makes clashes between Aussies and SA so juicy. They are both fighting teams, with both talent and passion. Although this series is way to short, it will not be lacking in drama and brilliant cricket from both sides.

  • Matt. on October 25, 2011, 10:56 GMT

    I think Hughes would be a superb addition to the shorter formats. To me he's a slogger, he just can't help but swipe at the ball. Perfect for T20, not so for Test cricket

  • hyclass on October 25, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    Im disappointed in Steyn.He & the SA's said something similar before the 09 tour & were wrong.They have used every opportunity to propogate a myth about their bowling to Hughes in 09.They bowled 178 overs in the 1st Test & 200 in the 2nd. Given Steyns credentials,that of SA's 1100+ wicket attack & plethora of highly regarded coaches reviewing footage,it is extremely poor sportsmanship to continue this story.Anyone who watches the Youtube videos,Hughes 115 v SA and Hughes 160 v SA will see all these claims completely discredited.His batting was a masterclass.How desperate of Steyn to use England as his proof.Nielsens 09 pre Ashes theory was to match Englands lineup in style,man for man.It meant including an all rounder in Watson.To do this,he needed Hughes out.De Costa talks about how they forced changes to Hughes preparation,style and technique that were totally unworkable,pre Eng Lions game 09.Each occasion in Tests,he had to deal with Nielsen.Hence his 126 v SL when Nielsen quit.

  • brisCricFan on October 24, 2011, 3:14 GMT

    @davidpk: I think the point meety was making is that the perception is he is vulnerable to the rising ball on a good line outside off - the one he fends off as he did in the case of the Strauss catch... but if you look at his dismissals, this only happened on 2 out of 9 occasions... that sort of statistic could say that every batsman is susceptible... his problem isn't so much how he plays it but that he needs to be more circumspect and NOT play them...

  • Rooboy on October 24, 2011, 3:09 GMT

    @davidpk - you keep repeating 2nd v 5th but South Africa are playing Australia, not Sri Lanka, so I don't understand. Yeah I think you should explain what you mean because the the only explanation I can come up with is that you have no idea what you're talking about.

  • bumsonseats on October 23, 2011, 11:10 GMT

    meety so other than the run out he as very unlucky get real. we normally get a good letter from u. unlike whats his name. as i said 2nd v 5th get my drift will explain if u cannot understand. dpk

  • on October 23, 2011, 10:54 GMT

    Go Steyn. Hughes is an absolute failure - at Grade level, at District level, at State Level and at Test level. How he continues to get a call is beyond me unless of course the reason is that he is a mate of Clarke. The sooner Australia settle on Marsh and Watson as our opening pair for the next ten years and let them grow together as a partnership like Hayden and Langer grew, we are doomed to have failures for as long as Hughes is in the team.

  • Marcio on October 23, 2011, 6:22 GMT

    This is a great chance for Hughes to silence his critics. All he needs is two decent scores. He was dropped after only two tests in the Ashes series, which was a bit harsh, then selected out of form for the last series in AUS, which was just stupid. He has had a huge amount of bad luck, in my opinion. But that goes in cycles. Time for some good luck. He'll come good.

  • HatsforBats on October 23, 2011, 4:35 GMT

    @Meety: and you forgot when Hughes was out "caught" at slip by Strauss when the ball bounced; he was also caught down the leg side glancing. A combination of out of form, out of luck, and Nielsen in his ear telling him to change his technique. People think Hughes is a one trick pony, they must also assume that the Aus domestic bowlers are intellectually challenged seeing as he keeps scoring mountains of runs every year. Honestly, >5000 runs in 4 years (17 centuries) and people want to drop him for Marsh, who is injured, AGAIN.

  • Kaze on October 23, 2011, 1:28 GMT

    He can talk the talk but can he walk it. The more SA run their mouth against Aus the more they look like Darryl Cullinan about to face up to Warne. Usually it will end up badly. The way that Amla and Kallis have looked recently, I get the feeling that in Tests SA hopes will rest with AB de Villiers and if he fails they will get rolled over very easily.

  • Marktc on October 25, 2011, 11:59 GMT

    Good to see the test mind wars starting. That is what makes clashes between Aussies and SA so juicy. They are both fighting teams, with both talent and passion. Although this series is way to short, it will not be lacking in drama and brilliant cricket from both sides.

  • Matt. on October 25, 2011, 10:56 GMT

    I think Hughes would be a superb addition to the shorter formats. To me he's a slogger, he just can't help but swipe at the ball. Perfect for T20, not so for Test cricket

  • hyclass on October 25, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    Im disappointed in Steyn.He & the SA's said something similar before the 09 tour & were wrong.They have used every opportunity to propogate a myth about their bowling to Hughes in 09.They bowled 178 overs in the 1st Test & 200 in the 2nd. Given Steyns credentials,that of SA's 1100+ wicket attack & plethora of highly regarded coaches reviewing footage,it is extremely poor sportsmanship to continue this story.Anyone who watches the Youtube videos,Hughes 115 v SA and Hughes 160 v SA will see all these claims completely discredited.His batting was a masterclass.How desperate of Steyn to use England as his proof.Nielsens 09 pre Ashes theory was to match Englands lineup in style,man for man.It meant including an all rounder in Watson.To do this,he needed Hughes out.De Costa talks about how they forced changes to Hughes preparation,style and technique that were totally unworkable,pre Eng Lions game 09.Each occasion in Tests,he had to deal with Nielsen.Hence his 126 v SL when Nielsen quit.

  • brisCricFan on October 24, 2011, 3:14 GMT

    @davidpk: I think the point meety was making is that the perception is he is vulnerable to the rising ball on a good line outside off - the one he fends off as he did in the case of the Strauss catch... but if you look at his dismissals, this only happened on 2 out of 9 occasions... that sort of statistic could say that every batsman is susceptible... his problem isn't so much how he plays it but that he needs to be more circumspect and NOT play them...

  • Rooboy on October 24, 2011, 3:09 GMT

    @davidpk - you keep repeating 2nd v 5th but South Africa are playing Australia, not Sri Lanka, so I don't understand. Yeah I think you should explain what you mean because the the only explanation I can come up with is that you have no idea what you're talking about.

  • bumsonseats on October 23, 2011, 11:10 GMT

    meety so other than the run out he as very unlucky get real. we normally get a good letter from u. unlike whats his name. as i said 2nd v 5th get my drift will explain if u cannot understand. dpk

  • on October 23, 2011, 10:54 GMT

    Go Steyn. Hughes is an absolute failure - at Grade level, at District level, at State Level and at Test level. How he continues to get a call is beyond me unless of course the reason is that he is a mate of Clarke. The sooner Australia settle on Marsh and Watson as our opening pair for the next ten years and let them grow together as a partnership like Hayden and Langer grew, we are doomed to have failures for as long as Hughes is in the team.

  • Marcio on October 23, 2011, 6:22 GMT

    This is a great chance for Hughes to silence his critics. All he needs is two decent scores. He was dropped after only two tests in the Ashes series, which was a bit harsh, then selected out of form for the last series in AUS, which was just stupid. He has had a huge amount of bad luck, in my opinion. But that goes in cycles. Time for some good luck. He'll come good.

  • HatsforBats on October 23, 2011, 4:35 GMT

    @Meety: and you forgot when Hughes was out "caught" at slip by Strauss when the ball bounced; he was also caught down the leg side glancing. A combination of out of form, out of luck, and Nielsen in his ear telling him to change his technique. People think Hughes is a one trick pony, they must also assume that the Aus domestic bowlers are intellectually challenged seeing as he keeps scoring mountains of runs every year. Honestly, >5000 runs in 4 years (17 centuries) and people want to drop him for Marsh, who is injured, AGAIN.

  • Kaze on October 23, 2011, 1:28 GMT

    He can talk the talk but can he walk it. The more SA run their mouth against Aus the more they look like Darryl Cullinan about to face up to Warne. Usually it will end up badly. The way that Amla and Kallis have looked recently, I get the feeling that in Tests SA hopes will rest with AB de Villiers and if he fails they will get rolled over very easily.

  • straight_drive4 on October 23, 2011, 1:26 GMT

    This bloke will fall on his sword like many fast bowlers before him. The ONLY fast bowler who successfully picked out a batsman (consistently) and then dominated him the woke series was the great MCGRATH.

  • Meety on October 23, 2011, 0:39 GMT

    The funny thing about Hughes v England is interesting he is gotten out 9 times. Once was a run out. At least 3 times was driving balls there to be hit in the 10/11 Ashes. He was out of form when re-selected, so some of the shots weren't happening for him. In 2009 he got out flicking an attempted hook/pull. I think we'll see a more patient Hughes, & he'll bide his time. Short balls aren't the worry as such - it's a bit of seam outside off, which is EVERY batsmen's weakness.

  • Meety on October 23, 2011, 0:25 GMT

    @MenFromMarts- I agree 100%, although all's fair in sport & war! @ davidpk - dopey, its 2nd v 4th. @spence1324 - top stuff, although IMO Dhoni & Laxman can play the short ball. @ loudmouth - better orer some plastic friendly sauce for your laptop schnitzel! LOL! @Chetan007 - settle petal. The mere fact they don't play the short ball at home, means they have a problem/weakness away from home on bouncier pitches, simple. A fact of life. Even Sachin is uncomfortable against it, he's adapted to cope, the whole world was uncomfortable against the WIndies pace battery in the 80s, (Shaiar Nafees is till feeling the effects of it as well), & the Don had troubles during Bodyline (although averaging 57). Fact is Raina as talented as he is has a big target painted around his rib cage & head, & every pace bowler in the world is going to have a crack!

  • MenFromMarts on October 22, 2011, 21:40 GMT

    The best mind game that Steyn just played was telling Hughes, through the media, that Katich is better than him and he is not worthy to be in Australian team. Very clever Mr Steyn. I don't like it - but clever.

  • bumsonseats on October 22, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    as you said steyn, england bowled very at hughes, but as a team australia were a very sorry bunch, hussey been the only one who stood up to englands bowlers ( 2 of which at the time were classed as 2nd string bowlers ) and even so he towards the end found it impossible to cope. as its only a 2 test series it can by the luck of the draw. at any given time, gives that team sway. or maybe its just the 2nd best team v the 5th best team, the higher team prevails. who do i wont to win, australia of course as they are way down the icc list that keeps england way on top lol. dpk

  • jonesy2 on October 22, 2011, 13:59 GMT

    mari2619 -- youre right, it has nothing to do with the fact that he has dominated the run scoring in the best domestic league in the world.

  • Mary_786 on October 22, 2011, 13:25 GMT

    Hughes should not be playing test cricket, he is only there because Clarke is good buddies with him.

  • spence1324 on October 22, 2011, 13:13 GMT

    @Chetan007 clearly you did not watch the the recent england vs india test series, let me remind you that 3 of your players suffered injures because they were could not play the short ball(gambier,singh,shama)and 3 players with no ablity to play Fast short pitch bowling(Rana,Laxman,Ms donhi)you wanted the facts so there you are,as for phillp hughes that was just some banter for my Australian friends because englands bowlers used the short ball to unsettle him in the recent ashes series which is what mr steyn is thinking of using Cheers.

  • bumsonseats on October 22, 2011, 11:14 GMT

    i find fast bowlers boasts quite funny. they have a red object in their hands called a bowl and can fling it down at upwards of 90 mph. let the bowl do the talking. as to hughes if thats the target u set yourself you are not aiming that high. the guys technique is a joke as a test opener. unless the guys improved since i last saw him. dpk

  • AdoSR on October 22, 2011, 11:10 GMT

    Um, Chetan. Spence said Hughes doesn't like pace and bounce, therefore playing in the sub-continent (like for India) would suit him. He didn't say Indians can't handle pace and bounce. Touchy?

    It would be great if Hughes can make it. He's something different in the samish world of test cricket.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on October 22, 2011, 10:45 GMT

    I watched Raina against England and it was embarrassing. I'm sure it's just lack of experience rather than cowardice but it was humiliating for him against the short ball.

  • loudmouth on October 22, 2011, 10:14 GMT

    Am I the only one that can see that Hughes is not Test match material? Experts talk about technique and to me David Warner and Shaun Marsh have better technique. Even Mitchell Marsh has better technique!!! Put Hughes in the T20 set up - that's his style! He loves scoring runs quickly. When he was @ Middlesex he was an embarrassment off the field and then when Harmison worked him over in that tour match he was an embarrassment on the field. I'll eat my own laptop if Steyn and co don't work him out this tour.

  • Chetan007 on October 22, 2011, 9:44 GMT

    @spence1324: He deserve only a place in Australian squad. Rectify your mistake that Indians don't like pace and bounce. None of the Indians have any problem with the short ball. The only problem is that in subcontinent they get very little chance to play those strokes and in Australia or England, sometime they mistimed the sort and got caught. This happens to every team. Australian doesn't want to play spin neither English team.If you see the record of batsmen being out of short ball only 1 Indian player is there in top 10. Most are either from Australia, England or South Africa. If your saying was true than we haven't won a single series in Australia or England or even in South Africa. Just brush up your knowledge before posting comments. Indians were weak facing short ball or bouncer was just a mind game being played by opposition team.

  • Rooboy on October 22, 2011, 9:18 GMT

    *yawn*

  • Tootsie on October 22, 2011, 9:09 GMT

    While the Saffas focus on Hughes, Watson Clarke and Ponting will have a field day. And Johnson will have Smith for breakfast.

  • triassicpark on October 22, 2011, 8:23 GMT

    Hughes in all honesty may have a poor tour. But hopefully its an interesting test series. I would like to see Hughes provide vital conrtibutions at the top. Lets see.

  • spence1324 on October 22, 2011, 7:44 GMT

    Phillp Hughes should be in the india team because he dose not like pace or bounce!

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on October 22, 2011, 6:58 GMT

    Normal pre-series chat from the swivel eyed bowler. It's up to Hughes to have learnt from the last couple of years and if he hasn't his career will be a short one .

  • SomeoneStoleMyLungi on October 22, 2011, 5:51 GMT

    Simon Katich should definitely still be in the team. Hughes is a target and could be easy pickings for Steyn. We will wait and see what happens.

  • Bone101 on October 22, 2011, 5:45 GMT

    Nice. The mind games begin.

  • stickman75 on October 22, 2011, 5:32 GMT

    Hughes will have a great series! come on Aussies!!!!

  • Perplexed on October 22, 2011, 5:28 GMT

    Sadly every time Dale Steyn makes a declaration like this before a series starts the exact opposite of what he said tends to happen. I sincerely hope that Dale is right and that they can take care of Hughes up front this time around, but I fear history repeating itself.

  • HatsforBats on October 22, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    Steyn admits they knew not to bowl wide and did anyway. Now he says this time they know not to bowl wide. I was under the impression that you just don't bowl wide to any batsmen. It will of course be an intriguing contest, but Hughes doesn't just cut and drive through the off-side, and the SA bowlers will still have to bowl tight, or rather, "execute their skill set".

  • on October 22, 2011, 3:31 GMT

    Steyn himself is an anomaly in the present era. A bowling average of 23, a strike rate rivaling the greats, successful in the subcontinent - perhaps the only genuinely complete fast bowler of present batsman dominated age.

  • Meety on October 22, 2011, 2:40 GMT

    Keep believing that Dale. The fact is from the very first tour match - fast bowlers were lining up to knock his block off, he was in form & adapted. Against the Poms this Ashes - he was coming off an injury lay off & didn't hit form until after the Ashes. The ton in SL is probably irrelevant, but the fact is he has been scoring runs regularly over the last 6 months. I think he'll average 50 in this tour. Shoule be a cracker, lets fast fwd to the tests please!!!!

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Meety on October 22, 2011, 2:40 GMT

    Keep believing that Dale. The fact is from the very first tour match - fast bowlers were lining up to knock his block off, he was in form & adapted. Against the Poms this Ashes - he was coming off an injury lay off & didn't hit form until after the Ashes. The ton in SL is probably irrelevant, but the fact is he has been scoring runs regularly over the last 6 months. I think he'll average 50 in this tour. Shoule be a cracker, lets fast fwd to the tests please!!!!

  • on October 22, 2011, 3:31 GMT

    Steyn himself is an anomaly in the present era. A bowling average of 23, a strike rate rivaling the greats, successful in the subcontinent - perhaps the only genuinely complete fast bowler of present batsman dominated age.

  • HatsforBats on October 22, 2011, 5:12 GMT

    Steyn admits they knew not to bowl wide and did anyway. Now he says this time they know not to bowl wide. I was under the impression that you just don't bowl wide to any batsmen. It will of course be an intriguing contest, but Hughes doesn't just cut and drive through the off-side, and the SA bowlers will still have to bowl tight, or rather, "execute their skill set".

  • Perplexed on October 22, 2011, 5:28 GMT

    Sadly every time Dale Steyn makes a declaration like this before a series starts the exact opposite of what he said tends to happen. I sincerely hope that Dale is right and that they can take care of Hughes up front this time around, but I fear history repeating itself.

  • stickman75 on October 22, 2011, 5:32 GMT

    Hughes will have a great series! come on Aussies!!!!

  • Bone101 on October 22, 2011, 5:45 GMT

    Nice. The mind games begin.

  • SomeoneStoleMyLungi on October 22, 2011, 5:51 GMT

    Simon Katich should definitely still be in the team. Hughes is a target and could be easy pickings for Steyn. We will wait and see what happens.

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on October 22, 2011, 6:58 GMT

    Normal pre-series chat from the swivel eyed bowler. It's up to Hughes to have learnt from the last couple of years and if he hasn't his career will be a short one .

  • spence1324 on October 22, 2011, 7:44 GMT

    Phillp Hughes should be in the india team because he dose not like pace or bounce!

  • triassicpark on October 22, 2011, 8:23 GMT

    Hughes in all honesty may have a poor tour. But hopefully its an interesting test series. I would like to see Hughes provide vital conrtibutions at the top. Lets see.