January 26, 2014

The divergent paths of Kohli and Hughes

They are the same age, but one is now a recognised international star while the other has lost his way after an impressive start
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Two batsmen, born just days apart, are now light years apart in their cricket ambitions.

Virat Kohli is a certified international star, now occupying Sachin Tendulkar's coveted No. 4 spot in India's Test side and with all the credentials of a future Indian captain. Phil Hughes, on the other hand, is relegated to state duties, having been left out of the touring party for South Africa and dropped from the Australian one-day side. His only consolation is the thought of piling up first-class runs - which he does with monotonous regularity - to soothe his wounds.

This is a far cry from just a few years ago. Both players were born in November 1988, but Hughes matured more quickly than Kohli.

By the time he had played four Test innings - prior to his 21st birthday - Hughes had amassed two centuries. Kohli didn't play four Test innings until he was nearly 23, and none of those knocks exceeded 30.

Kohli's breakthrough came in a Test on the notorious WACA pitch. A difficult, bouncy strip to handle even for local batsmen, it was deemed a nightmare for Indian batsmen. But for Kohli it became his field of dreams. He scored 44 and 75 and hasn't looked back as an international batsman.

Having coped with the most extreme of conditions, he then scored his first Test century in the next innings, at the picturesque Adelaide Oval. He has accumulated another four since, at venues as disparate as Bangalore and the Bullring in Johannesburg. Adelaide might be the most scenic of his Test century venues but the Wanderers ranks up there with the WACA in importance on a touring batsman's CV.

It was meritorious runs on a lively WACA pitch that gave Kohli belief as a Test player. It was his hundred at the Wanderers, against a top-rated attack, that confirmed he was a player of great class.

While the WACA was kind to Kohli, another prestigious venue, Lord's, has been disastrous for Hughes. He has had two Tests and four innings at the famous ground for a top score of 17 - and that's the good news. Following each Lord's fixture he has been dropped, and since the second omission, he hasn't been sighted at Test level despite Australia's top order malfunctioning regularly.

Cricket life has been difficult for Hughes. He has been shuffled in the order since his early days as a pure opener, but in reality that's his spot. He first caught the eye while making rapid progress through the grades as a young opener who consistently scored centuries.

However, following yet another setback in his Test career, he decided to revamp his technique. In retrospect, this may have been a mistake, because in making himself a little less vulnerable around the off stump, one of his greatest attributes was diminished.

Previously Hughes had worried new-ball bowlers. They knew he could be troubled around the off stump but they were also aware that a slight mistake on their part would cost them dearly. Since the alteration to his technique he has lost that "fear factor".

Kohli, on the other hand, has remained strong-minded in his approach to batting. Just the other day, after making an ODI century in New Zealand, he defiantly stated: "I think even [before leaving] the ball on a bouncer, it is very important to want to hit the ball."

Kohli's simple approach to batting - thinking primarily about scoring - has stood many a fine player in good stead. In the mind-game battle, Kohli has progressed while Hughes has regressed.

Nevertheless, the fate of both players could also be explained by a variance in selection policies between the two countries. After years of subservience to senior batsmen, India have finally been forced to become more youthful, and it's paying dividends. Conversely Australia, who used to depend heavily on young batsmen, have now veered away from that policy and are placing a lot of faith in more experienced players.

Kohli and Hughes - a case of two batsmen and two philosophies moving in divergent directions.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator for Channel 9, and a columnist

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • shetto on January 30, 2014, 1:31 GMT

    @Gautam N. Shenoy... The shield game is where our test bowlers come from - also regarded among the best in the world.The recent shield saw the return of all test bowlers in preparation for the ashes - these are types of bowlers an inform Hughes scored century after century against. The tour of India was a low spot not only for Hughes but the whole team Watson averaged 16.5, Warner who averaged 25, Smith who averaged 26 and Cowan averaged 32. Hughes does have an issue against spin and needs to use his feet more - but I am sure he will address this over time. Hughes was subsequently dropped in after the second test in the following Ashes tour when he failed against the spin of Swann. At that time he had just scored an unbeaten 81 in the previous test and had amassed more runs than any other Australian on tour 436 at an average of 62. One of few Australian batsmen to bounce back from the disappointing tour of India. A bit unfair.

  • on January 29, 2014, 23:20 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha -- I think I get what you mean about Kohli being a huge twit with a chip on his shoulder. But his genius is that he can turn this into "mental toughness". He'd make good Aussie.

  • on January 29, 2014, 14:05 GMT

    @Shetto: Those tons he scored what seems like ages back is probably beginner's luck. One swallow (or two) does not a summer make. He was then figured out by the international bowlers and has struggled since then. He has been given plenty of chances to go through the whole series (India series where Aus lost 4-0 was an example) but his presence in the XI gave reassurance to the opposition than the Aussies. The further he is kept from an international Aussie side, the better for them. I am really really surprised that domestic Australian bowlers haven't been able to sort him out even now because even now he is scoring runs. Tells us there is a gulf of difference in Shield and international quality bowlers.

  • shetto on January 29, 2014, 4:37 GMT

    Put simply, Phil Hughes has been worked out by the international bowling union- I dont' think the best bowlers in the world Steyn, Morkel, Philander have been able to work him out. It also works the other way - batsmen can work out bowlers and given the chance, Phil Hughes is one of those players that can accumulate big totals by adapting his game to bowlers and stituations - The signs are all there that he could be a player that is marked for greatness.

  • shetto on January 29, 2014, 1:04 GMT

    He has a weakness against pace and clueless against swing - If this was so, he would not have made centuries against the best fast bowlers in the world and on their home soil in South Africa. If Hughes was allowed to play out a series like other players were allowed to against England I am sure he would still be playing for Australia. The current policy where they are favouring older batsmen over younger ones may work in the short term, but Australia may quickly find itself back where it started when these guys start to retire - not a good policy - time for Australia to go for youth and that's one thing that Hughes has on his side is youth. All Hughes has to do is keep making runs and I think players like Rodgers will be under tremendous pressure to keep their spot - would not like to be in Rodgers shoes - he never looks comfortable or confident at the crease - A complete contrast to Haddin who has nothing to lose and seems to be enjoying his last couple years at the top.

  • Little_Aussie_Battler on January 29, 2014, 0:27 GMT

    Put simply, Phil Hughes has been worked out by the international bowling union.

    His cards are marked, move along. Give the next batch a go.

  • DragonCricketer on January 28, 2014, 11:46 GMT

    Sometimes I wonder if they left Hughes out because he may upset the team dynamics, Whats he like coming back into a team a 4th time. He has played more tests or similar than half the team. Would he have a chip on his shoulder? Why have they left him out? Hughes has been in a good space as well, And scored red ball runs.

  • on January 28, 2014, 4:59 GMT

    Regarding Hughes, the question is, where do you hide a batsman who has a weakness against pace, is clueless against swing and a dead duck against spin? And has anyone noticed how Australia's fortunes have changed for the better once he was dropped for good (After the English Ashes)?

  • OneEyedAussie on January 28, 2014, 3:35 GMT

    Under an examination of pure FC statistics, Hughes is the best under-30 candidate batsmen in Australia. That seems unlikely to change in the next few years. I am still shocked that he was not selected ahead of Marsh for the SA tour. Reading between the lines, I think the selectors want him to complete more FC cricket.

  • Insult_2_Injury on January 28, 2014, 3:21 GMT

    The big difference.....Kohli has a technique to get him through the good balls, which come more frequently in Internationals.

  • shetto on January 30, 2014, 1:31 GMT

    @Gautam N. Shenoy... The shield game is where our test bowlers come from - also regarded among the best in the world.The recent shield saw the return of all test bowlers in preparation for the ashes - these are types of bowlers an inform Hughes scored century after century against. The tour of India was a low spot not only for Hughes but the whole team Watson averaged 16.5, Warner who averaged 25, Smith who averaged 26 and Cowan averaged 32. Hughes does have an issue against spin and needs to use his feet more - but I am sure he will address this over time. Hughes was subsequently dropped in after the second test in the following Ashes tour when he failed against the spin of Swann. At that time he had just scored an unbeaten 81 in the previous test and had amassed more runs than any other Australian on tour 436 at an average of 62. One of few Australian batsmen to bounce back from the disappointing tour of India. A bit unfair.

  • on January 29, 2014, 23:20 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha -- I think I get what you mean about Kohli being a huge twit with a chip on his shoulder. But his genius is that he can turn this into "mental toughness". He'd make good Aussie.

  • on January 29, 2014, 14:05 GMT

    @Shetto: Those tons he scored what seems like ages back is probably beginner's luck. One swallow (or two) does not a summer make. He was then figured out by the international bowlers and has struggled since then. He has been given plenty of chances to go through the whole series (India series where Aus lost 4-0 was an example) but his presence in the XI gave reassurance to the opposition than the Aussies. The further he is kept from an international Aussie side, the better for them. I am really really surprised that domestic Australian bowlers haven't been able to sort him out even now because even now he is scoring runs. Tells us there is a gulf of difference in Shield and international quality bowlers.

  • shetto on January 29, 2014, 4:37 GMT

    Put simply, Phil Hughes has been worked out by the international bowling union- I dont' think the best bowlers in the world Steyn, Morkel, Philander have been able to work him out. It also works the other way - batsmen can work out bowlers and given the chance, Phil Hughes is one of those players that can accumulate big totals by adapting his game to bowlers and stituations - The signs are all there that he could be a player that is marked for greatness.

  • shetto on January 29, 2014, 1:04 GMT

    He has a weakness against pace and clueless against swing - If this was so, he would not have made centuries against the best fast bowlers in the world and on their home soil in South Africa. If Hughes was allowed to play out a series like other players were allowed to against England I am sure he would still be playing for Australia. The current policy where they are favouring older batsmen over younger ones may work in the short term, but Australia may quickly find itself back where it started when these guys start to retire - not a good policy - time for Australia to go for youth and that's one thing that Hughes has on his side is youth. All Hughes has to do is keep making runs and I think players like Rodgers will be under tremendous pressure to keep their spot - would not like to be in Rodgers shoes - he never looks comfortable or confident at the crease - A complete contrast to Haddin who has nothing to lose and seems to be enjoying his last couple years at the top.

  • Little_Aussie_Battler on January 29, 2014, 0:27 GMT

    Put simply, Phil Hughes has been worked out by the international bowling union.

    His cards are marked, move along. Give the next batch a go.

  • DragonCricketer on January 28, 2014, 11:46 GMT

    Sometimes I wonder if they left Hughes out because he may upset the team dynamics, Whats he like coming back into a team a 4th time. He has played more tests or similar than half the team. Would he have a chip on his shoulder? Why have they left him out? Hughes has been in a good space as well, And scored red ball runs.

  • on January 28, 2014, 4:59 GMT

    Regarding Hughes, the question is, where do you hide a batsman who has a weakness against pace, is clueless against swing and a dead duck against spin? And has anyone noticed how Australia's fortunes have changed for the better once he was dropped for good (After the English Ashes)?

  • OneEyedAussie on January 28, 2014, 3:35 GMT

    Under an examination of pure FC statistics, Hughes is the best under-30 candidate batsmen in Australia. That seems unlikely to change in the next few years. I am still shocked that he was not selected ahead of Marsh for the SA tour. Reading between the lines, I think the selectors want him to complete more FC cricket.

  • Insult_2_Injury on January 28, 2014, 3:21 GMT

    The big difference.....Kohli has a technique to get him through the good balls, which come more frequently in Internationals.

  • Cricket4Lifee on January 27, 2014, 21:50 GMT

    @Mohsin9975 : Its ironical that after you mentioned so many qualities for a good batsman and mentioned that "none saw him as a good batsman till d last series"? Don't know what to say.

    Virat Kohli is an promising evolving cricketer in both ODI's and tests. Hughes may be unfulfilled talent but he never showed the class and hunger like Virat. Hughes will follow the foot steps of watson. Kohli is destined to greatness. His on-filed behaviour can be questioned at times, for me, he looks like early Ricky who was brash and confident - evolved as one of the greatest captains. All those who said he was more of a leg-side player changing their opinions after his hundred in SA against the likes of Steyn and Morkel. Days are numbered for the detractors of Virat because they will be out of their list of critic statements soon.

  • on January 27, 2014, 19:56 GMT

    @mohsin9975.... kohli was hot tempered and egoistic @21... now he has matured... yes he shows disappointment on getting out,because he values his wicket... kohli is not a good offside player.. come on, dont judge by watching the highlights package... he cant play the backfoot drives?... please watch the south african series... steyn's stock ball is good length outside offstump,watch how kohli played him... except for srilanka and westindies , he averages above 45 in all other countries.... before last series he wasnt considered as a good batsmen?.... good joke...

  • CherryWood_Champion on January 27, 2014, 18:21 GMT

    Top 3 performers for me over the past one year Test: Yes Pujara is up and above all for his big scores in all conditions. I am sure he is going prove that again in NZ. 1) Pujara 2) Ab Dev 3) Kohli

    ODIs 1) Kohli 2) Ab Dev 3) Dhoni

  • on January 27, 2014, 14:26 GMT

    Brilliant article, Ian. A bit disconcerting that Hughes despite his mountain of runs has been ignored and one hopes he is not going the Brad Hodge way. Still young, he is sure to knock down the door.

  • IPSY on January 27, 2014, 12:49 GMT

    Ian, while age is a fair factor in any comparison scenario, it's not nearly as important as exposure and experience, especially in sports. So, while Hughes and Kohli might be the same age, that's not what strikes me most when I see Kohli's illustrious record so far, as against that of the struggling Hughes. I'm more surprised that Hughes was given the experience in test cricket all of two years before Kohli, but Hughes has not capitalized on that gift of advanced exposure. You see, once an individual reaches the age of majority he's an adult; and is expected to operate at that level. Hence, once he's being more exposed than another adult of even a much senior age, he's expected to perform better. Eg: I am amazed as to what my 7 year old son could have done on a computer before I was able to even turn on one, due to his advanced exposure to the experience. I am saying this to remind analysts that experience is always superior to age. I think nature and nurture are also at play here.

  • on January 27, 2014, 11:24 GMT

    Hughes' biggest problem, at the moment, is that he plays for South Australia.

  • mohsin9975 on January 27, 2014, 11:22 GMT

    @Criclover316 Indian cricketers are superstars/celebrities in india. They are a secluded lot & hav no life other than cricket becoz of cricket-overdose. No cricketer can be abusive/arrogant onfield & a gentleman off-field. He is feigning it if he is. But, the opposite can be true in case of politicians. But, we judge players by their onfield behaviour & hav nothing to do with what they do off-field

  • mohsin9975 on January 27, 2014, 10:58 GMT

    @Criclover316 Whole world recognises him as a talented batsman. He might score more runs than SRT, Dravid, Kallis, Sanga but will never be liked/respected by many. Not all indian fans like him either bcoz of his shoddy onfield behaviour. We all know cricketers by what they do onfield. So, we judge them all by how they carry themselves on the field. I've been watching a lot of cricket played all around world other than india & havent found many with that behaviour being popular among the fans

  • mohsin9975 on January 27, 2014, 10:48 GMT

    @Criclover316 U rarely see him getting LBW ala SRT becoz SRT looked to score off any line/length vs pacers. Kohli is much stronger on the leg side & rarely misses to score off that line. While he isnt as confident on the offside as SRT, even in ODIs, becoz of his bottom-handed technique. It isnt a problem on low-bounce subcontinent wickets. But, when d ball's bouncing waist high & moving outside off, it becomes a problem to punch off d backfoot. Filling those big boots of SRT isnt a joke. Even a child can make out a facial expression of disappointment of playing a rash shot & dissent towards umpire after been given out.

  • mohsin9975 on January 27, 2014, 10:33 GMT

    @Criclover316 I would definitely want him to evolve his batting on the offside in the next 2 ODIs & Test series to follow. Its only now that u see teams targetting him ala SRT in the 1990's & noughties. Infact NZ is the 1st team that has identified this chink in his armor. He has been getting out to that line & length in many matches. He is predominently a leg-side bottom-handed wristy player. U can find that when he plays the straight-drive with an angled bat. So, this makes it difficult for him to play shots off the backfoot on the offside. Steyn & Morkel being as talented couldnt see/exploit this basic flaw becoz none saw him as a good batsman till d last series. He will nw b targetted by oppostion as they realise he's d big fish.

  • Moppa on January 27, 2014, 10:04 GMT

    @Barnesey4444, I chose the three balls not just for what happened on those balls, but because the commentator was discussing, in real time, the quirks of Hughes' technique which were already evident during that dominant Durban Test and which the South Africans seemed to focus better on in Cape Town. In any case, I should state for the record that I do think Hughes can succeed with his unorthodox technique, that some tweaking and improvement over time was needed when he debuted but that, if it occurred, imposed changes from coaches were a poor idea. Further, I agree that he has been roughly treated at the selection table, both in '09 and since. For what it's worth, I like the guy and wish him every success. All I am putting forward is that Hughes' difficulties were observed and targeted by opposition bowlers after his stunning initial successes, and not simply created out of thin air by the Australian coaching staff.

  • CricLover316 on January 27, 2014, 9:40 GMT

    @mohsin9975- It just baffles me when people start talking about Ego,class,temper without even knowing Kohli outside cricket and start judging him as a Person on the field which he was when he was 19.Sure he has ego,but so did Ponting,Clarke,KP,Steyn to name a few.He has a presence on the field(That really matters)Yes,he still shows some disappointment when he gets out(Its not feeling that he's notout,like you mentioned)Whether he's out on a 0 or 125 it doesn't matter.

    He's Aggressive and he has channeled that Aggression into consistent Performances overseas in all formats. If you really want to see how Classy and mature he is,watch some of his interviews.You will eat your words. And about walking?Comeon pal. Except Amla(considering current players),I've hardly seen anyone walk. Kohli is the most complete player (just next to AB),who can perform in any format anywhere. Already seeing a great technique for overseas conditions and he just gets better. This man is in a different strata.

  • hyclass on January 27, 2014, 9:27 GMT

    @Moppa, my regard is for observation of available evidence & what may in high probability be reasoned from it. I deem cause & effect to be reversed re Hughes. This is a subject that from the first, has been driven by headlines, hype & emotion that are refuted by a wealth of available evidence. It's also led to unreasonable vitriol being leveled at a then 20 year old with an extraordinary record who failed once-in the first innings of the second Test. The ball bounced in the second innings in front of Strauss. There was almost no protest & Hughes was dumped-averaging over 50. I cant imagine it happening in a team committed to him. A great deal may be reasoned from that alone. He was said to have a failing against the short ball, but wasn't dismissed in that fashion. He was said to be off side only and clearly scored through the leg side, while being off side dominant, as so many left handers are. He was said to be poor against spin, but is from NSW and the SCG. He spanked Harris in SA.

  • dganger on January 27, 2014, 9:13 GMT

    Interesting article, though I have not followed Hughes much, certainly he come across as a player with immense talent and reputation in Australian domestic circuit which somehow didnt transformed in International area. This is not something new, many fine players struggles to transform thr domestic form into International matches. More than the technical aspect, as many pointing out here in the comments, its more of a psychological adjustment that needed to be made. Now for Kohli, in his initial days, he was quickly dismissed by many as a perfect example of young and arrogant, who will get lost eventually, with his I DONT CARE attitude and lifestyle. He was disliked by many, both by critics, players and even fans.

  • hyclass on January 27, 2014, 9:08 GMT

    @Barnesy4444. I love your enthusiasm.There have been numerous times when I couldn't bear to watch Hughes bat, despite my high regard for him. I waited for him to realise that continuing along the text book road each time he joined the Test side, was a recipe for failure. He found himself in the invidious position of failing if he did as asked or not being selected if he honored his own game. Positions in sides are predicated upon results. Team before all else.I have long rated him a coming star. It's my belief that on joining the squad in '09, as Nielsen publicly proclaimed, he wasn't penciled in-Watson was. With Watson included, there's an eerie similarity about the make up of the sides. With Hughes in, there isn't. I believe they chose the sides as like for like. Hughes success in SA interfered with the pre-existing game plan, which occurred at a time of high politics within the team and CA. Hence the Argus Review. I expect at some point that we will be wiser about the '09 events.

  • hsudhindra on January 27, 2014, 8:26 GMT

    I think it is unfair to compare Hughes with anyone at this stage of his career. Let the fellow fight through the struggles he is facing.

  • mohsin9975 on January 27, 2014, 8:15 GMT

    I admire kohli's determination to stay at the wicket & see his side through which is better than SRT & Dravid. But, fact is fact. The guy is arrogant with a big ego. Seen him not walk off after being given out correctly many times. On top of that, he makes out as if he's been wronged. I dont expect him to be a saint i.e a walker, but at least walk off without being dishonest when umpire gets it right. Great batsmen never do that. SRT/Dravid were legends, pure gentleman. Kohli is nowhere near their allround batsmanship or their behaviour. He never plays cut-shot or back-foot punch off fast bowlers, a weakness exploited by Bennett & NZ in the last ODI. So not a complete Test batsman either

  • mrmonty on January 27, 2014, 7:06 GMT

    This article could be easily about Kohli and Rohit Sharma, in a year's time.

  • Barnesy4444 on January 27, 2014, 6:46 GMT

    Moppa, as for you retyping a few balls off cricinfo as proof either Hughes had major faults or Steyn, Morkel, Ntini and Kalilis bowled about 150 overs of rubbish for to him is just nonsense. I'm sorry.

    Hughes was an impressionable, shy, 21 year old country lad just starting in international cricket and was stuffed around by some stupid selectors and coaches. Could you imagine how different Hughes' career would have been if Boof had been coach in 2009? Impossible to tell, right?

  • Barnesy4444 on January 27, 2014, 6:34 GMT

    Moppa, of course Hughes is off-side dominant. He is a self taught, shy boy from country NSW (good pedigree I think). He has an unorthodox technique (also good pedigree). He wood chops the ball through the off rather than playing your classical textbook shots.

    As a junior he closed off his stance to make slicing thought the off easier but the downside of this is he got cramped with top bowlers aiming at his body. All he needed to do was tweak his stance to open it up a bit, it didn't require him to be dropped and told to change his entire approach.

    Even the great Graham Pollock was poor off his pads early in his career, they kept bowling there and within a short space of time he was just as good off his pads as he was through the off!!

    Hughes wasn't given ta chance to show how fast he could work on things and repeat what Pollock did. You show me one 21 year old whose technique doesn't need tweaking.

  • Moppa on January 27, 2014, 6:31 GMT

    Actually, @hyclass, I started out with an open mind and found quite a lot of evidence (more than just those three balls - the 1000 character limit is quite restrictive) that Hughes struggled with balls on his body and scored most freely through the off-side. I included the point about fours through the leg-side in the first innings at Durban as a point of balance, as it seems to support your view, and then simply noted that the ball-by-ball commentary suggested these were very poor deliveries. I think it is also worth noting that they were full and on the legs, rather than shorter and at the hip or body. Anyway, you seem to be adopting a court of law level of proof, which is clearly not feasible in an informal website posting forum. Perhaps it is you who is closed to new evidence? I simply went looking at the contemporary evidence (unaffected by hindsight) and found some tidbits contradictory to your view. Consequently I got what amounts to rude and belittling condescension. Thanks!

  • hyclass on January 27, 2014, 6:12 GMT

    I appreciate you've made an attempt @Moppa, but you've done so with a perspective & cultivated or twisted facts to fit theories, rather than theories to fit facts. Your reasoning at most junctures is specious & lacks authenticity. If the SA worked Hughes out in '09, where is the evidence? His dismissals in the 3rd Test-both in the 30's don't reflect that.That he is unorthodox and off side dominant, is a response to being a short, left-handed opener and where the preponderance of deliveries will be bowled. It reeks of intelligence, planning & adapting on his part.I fail to understand the relevance of your use of 'juicy half volleys on leg stump.'He scored leg side. That's all. He flew to Eng in peerless form and scored almost 600 runs in 3 games for Middlesex to prove it-hardly a mindset of doubt and being 'found out'.It was only on joining the squad,that his game was forcibly changed. Not speculation. DeCosta stated it publicly as fact. Virtually all claims are refuted by the evidence.

  • Barnesy4444 on January 27, 2014, 6:01 GMT

    Hughes was TOLD to change his technique, it wasn't a decision of his. To do this to a 21 year old who was smashing the best bowlers in the world all over the park was plain stupid.

    The only possible result of this terrible management was it was going to stuff up his momentum, it certainly did that.

    Hughes will play over 100 tests, score over 30 test centuries and be regarded in the same breath as Clarke and Ponting.

  • here2rock on January 27, 2014, 5:52 GMT

    A very interesting article by Ian Chappell. A very similar article was written when Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar started their careers, both of these greats were following the same paths as Virat Kohil and Phill Hughes. Sachin Tendulkar was already a great player while Ricky Ponting was involved in off field incidents marring his progress. I am not sure who wrote that article, it might have been Mike Coward. They both ended being two greats batsmen of the modern game, could these two follow in those footsteps? Both fantastic players in my opinion.

  • hyclass on January 27, 2014, 5:48 GMT

    @Moppa a few balls of speculative commentary and speciously reasoning from various wagon wheel, do not constitute Prima facie evidence anywhere. I fail to recall a single innings by any batsman of any stature, that didn't require fortunate moments or contain plays and misses. Hughes faced a huge number of overs against what was the world's best attack on their home ground and not only survived, but flourished and to some degree dominated. Any batsman subject to what amounts to leg theory, will have their challenges-even Ponting did with a conventional field. Once a team has reduced itself to that, it is clearly out of conventional ideas and is attempting to intimidate. It immediately demonstrates that far from being taken by surprise as they claim, the SA tried everything in their armoury. Thank you for introducing more proof of that, if any other than the youtube highlights was needed. He wasn't dismissed by any of those methods. In fact, it was Harris lofted that posed the danger.

  • MaruthuDelft on January 27, 2014, 5:01 GMT

    @samincolumbia, Why are talking about Sri Lanka? Sri Lanka has no chance of producing someone having Sachin's class but certainly Sri Lankans are fitter than Indians. I know Sachin is one of the 10 best batsmen ever. Kohli looks to be good enough to surpass Sachin.

  • kapilesh23 on January 27, 2014, 4:12 GMT

    I think for Kohli, playing consistently good odi cricket helped as well. Of course the technique and the rest of the batting attributes required for test and odi are far apart. However the confidence which you gain from playing good cricket is invaluable. Kohli was actually dropped from test team 11 after his disastrous west indies tour but his consistent good show in odi's helped him to regain his confidence and come back hard in test cricket. I don't know how much ODI's Phil Hughes played. The confidence gained from whichever format, I believe matters a lot.

  • Hellsy on January 27, 2014, 4:05 GMT

    Who is this satchin guy and why is he of interest to this article? I though Chappelli was speaking of Hughes and Kohli? Dos satchin play cricket, if so who for

  • Moppa on January 27, 2014, 3:14 GMT

    In conclusion (based on research in earlier posts): I think there's plenty of evidence that Hughes circa March 2009 was a) unorthodox b) off-side dominant c) struggled to work the ball off the body and d) was vulnerable to getting caught hopping on the crease or gloving down the leg-side to straight-ish, short-ish, quick-ish balls. This is consistent with his 'exposure' in the 2009 Ashes. There is also evidence that the South Africans quickly learnt his method and adapted. It therefore seems likely that Hughes had vulnerabilities when he flew to England in 2009 and that the English team had material on which to find them and devise plans. Whether or not the Australian support staff tinkered with his technique in the meantime can only be speculated on. Similarly, we can debate endlessly whether the various timings of his being dropped, other technical changes, or the mere fact of opposition teams researching Hughes and his weak points have driven the decline of his FC average.

  • Moppa on January 27, 2014, 3:01 GMT

    A few excerpts from cricinfo ball-by-ball, Aus vs SA, Cape Town March 2009: 5.4 Ntini to Hughes, no run, beaten outside off. That technique I tell you is going to make the bowlers tear their hair apart. It was short of length delivery outside off, Hughes hops, doesn't go either forward or back, may be a touch sideways and tries to punch it through the off side 12.6 Kallis to Hughes, no run, kicks up nastily on the middle stump line ,Hughes yanks up to jab it to the on side. It's also because his technique that I used the word nastily I think. He shapes to move forward before getting back and to the on side and all that movement meant the ball caught up on him quicker than he thought 15.4 Morkel to Hughes, no run, ooh almost dragged on again It was short in length and climbing, Hughes went nowhere with his footwork - doing that tango of initially going forward before hopping back - and ended up inside edging a jab almost to the stumps ..

  • Moppa on January 27, 2014, 2:53 GMT

    @hyclass, I've gone looking for some more evidence for or against your theory. A good place to start is the cricinfo ball-by-ball commentary (and wagon wheels). Some observations: 1) Hughes' 75 in 2nd innings at Joburg 2009 was off-side dominant and he was out gloving down the legside twice but given not out. 2) His first century at Durban included plenty of clips through mid-wicket, though it sounds like the bowling involved a lot of juicy half-volleys on leg stump. 3) His second Durban century involved mostly off-side fours, and there is evidence in the ball-by-ball that he struggled to work the ball to leg and nearly gloved down leg again, as well as being roughed up by some bouncers. By the third Test, the Proteas are targeting his body with a leg gully field, and constricting him. See next post for some excerpts from the ball-by-ball commentary

  • .Raina on January 27, 2014, 1:52 GMT

    Both Kohli & Hughes are great in their own ways. Both are 'confidence' players and need to be in the 'right frame' to score runs. Hughes is more un-orthodox, and It is unfortunate the way Hughes, & many other talented players, sometimes get handled by their respective boards/captains/selectors and then they loose their way. Hughes could have earned a similar standing as Kohli by now, or maybe more, but got ruffled by the Commentators (know everything guys!!) who started questioning his technique. <n/> Hughes continues to score Tons of Runs, with the same technique (maybe with some tweaks), in the S-Shield and it is just a matter of time before he is back in the national team. Playing more Shield Cricket with less pressure, and piling Hundreds like before will only improve his confidence further, and he would be more confident later when the opportunity arrives.....

  • on January 27, 2014, 1:12 GMT

    The Mickey Arthur era of Aus cricket really was shocking. We won in South Africa and now look at the players journey since. He tried to get warner to see off the 1st 20 balls in test which created uncertainty and less freedom if he didnt have the ability to win a game on his own he would also have been under pressure and probably dropt, Mitchell Johnson wasnt used correctly rather than strike it was consistent stock bowler, Kawaja and Hughes ended up playing for there position, and now dont have a spot.

    Mickey Arthur you have cost Australia more than any other coach. Wth an ageing australian team, just think how the team would look with a settled Hughes(left handed version of slater without nervous nineties) Warner(2 left) Rogers Clarke (2 right) Kawaja elegance Smith allrounder Haddin then the bowlers a well balanced for age experience side that scores quickly can stop the flow of wickets and accumulate.

  • willmot on January 27, 2014, 1:06 GMT

    Kohli may be improving as a batsman but lacks stature & class as an individual. Such men create unnecessary enemies & rarely last.

  • on January 27, 2014, 0:53 GMT

    In pontings autobiography he says how the selectors made a mistake by not giving Hughes and Kawaja faith in their selections. Hughes is the youngest ever player to score 2 hundreds in a test, has over 20 hundreds in 1st class and now cant get even get a test spot. Hughes also didnt seem to suffer the nervous nineties a mindset that australia may have lost for good when he returns. Kohlis a highly skilled cricketer with a talent for match awarenes he should make a great captain. However in the interest of pure sport seeing talents fulfilled and injury free careers brings out the best in the spectator and the game.

  • samincolumbia on January 27, 2014, 0:32 GMT

    @Maruthu- If and when SL can unearth a batsmen 1/3 as good as Sachin, SL should consider themselves very lucky.

  • paulkate72 on January 27, 2014, 0:18 GMT

    I feel a bit for Phil Hughes. He was hailed as a future Bradman - too big a mantle for anyone to carry. While he doesn't quite seem up to international cricket, especially Test cricket, which player does in the Australian lineup right now? Even Clarke has had a poor Summer and Watson pretty forgettable. Brad Haddin has been, and is, currently our best batsman for season 2013-14. My question is: why hasn't some other aspiring batsman put his hand up to play for Australia? Why do we have so many of these articles dealing with Phil Hughes instead of another rising batsman?

  • BangbangKohli on January 26, 2014, 23:40 GMT

    Kohli is the most promising batsman in the world today, he is best in one-days and maturing in test. What sets him apart is his positive attitude and aggression which other Indians lacked. He is a match winner and will keep winning matches for India which no one ever did before (yes including Tendulkar). Keep going buddy, we luv you man!

  • MaruthuDelft on January 26, 2014, 23:19 GMT

    @ Sarath Chandra Vaidyula and IndianSRTfan, guys, keep your numbers aside for a while? Look at the old videos. If you have an iota of sense of fitness - I mean athletic fitness levels - you would understand that Tendulkar was not really fit enough. Not just Tendulkar, most Indian cricketers are not fit. Don't you understand? That is the reason why India don't have fast bowlers and batsmen who can score on bouncy wickets. Sometimes extraordinary skills Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman possessed could be a substitute but not always.

  • IndTheBest on January 26, 2014, 22:40 GMT

    Compare cook and Raina, you will get the same results.

  • on January 26, 2014, 21:52 GMT

    While I agree with Chappell's analysis on Hughes, I don't think I have the same opinion as his on Kohli. Virat has been exceptional in ODI cricket for a long time and has done well around the world. In tests, however, he has been less successful. He batted brilliantly in the recent test series against SA, and certainly has the potential to become a top quality test player. The truth though, is that he has not played enough tests to be considered a star. He struggled against WI in 2011 and was overlooked for the English tour that year. Then he struggled in the first two tests in Australia and played well in the last two. Other good knocks have been at home (Other than the SA tour). The true test for Kohli will be the tour of England this year. If he does well in the tests in NZ and can perform well in English conditions, then he will enter a new level in my book.

  • IndianSRTfan on January 26, 2014, 18:35 GMT

    @Maruthudelft: The fact that Sachin has played for 24 years and for those 25 years and even after his retirement, every other modern batsman is compared to him as a means of assessing their talent, skill and numbers, negates all further points made by you. Tendulkar has remained consta on one side of the equation, variables on other side have kept changing. And Sachin avoided work outs? Lol, entire generation of Indian batsmen were, are and will be inspired by his work ethic. As for the shots he played, he would know better than you or anyone else, to be a judge of that.

  • TRAM on January 26, 2014, 18:08 GMT

    Phil Huges needs to rub his shoulders with Rohit Sharma (to get some luck dust transferred).

  • hyclass on January 26, 2014, 17:38 GMT

    There appear to be a number of respondents to this article, who are under the impression that this is a comparison to decide who the better player is. If so, they have failed to either read or understand this article's purpose. Ian Chappell has convened this study to investigate the outcomes of two players of very similar age and observe their pathways, to muse upon their individual outcomes. It is an exploration of cause and effect and reasoning in probability from that. The statistics are a matter of public record and require no elucidation on a site dedicated to that end. It is a subject that deserves the greatest attention at a time when the methods and accountability for outcomes, throughout the administrative cricket world, but especially in Australia over the last 5-6 years, bear the closest scrutiny. Ian mentions selection criterion, but this period contains numerous, inexplicable and destabilising episodes, that led to the Argus Review. Few authentic changes have resulted.

  • on January 26, 2014, 17:14 GMT

    kholi is one of the batsman I like from india. his stats have impressed me and if I see frpm current indian team he has the potential to go high. on the other hand, Australia as a team is far better. if it was upto one player kholi is the best

  • on January 26, 2014, 17:07 GMT

    Great article!! Hughes is a man for the future, feel quite certain that he will make a comeback to the Aussie side. Kohli now truly looks the part. While his ODI exploits are phenomenal his test runs recently in SA have convinced me that he will go on to become one of India's top batsman of all time. 10k test runs should not be impossible for this man.

  • TSJ07 on January 26, 2014, 16:48 GMT

    Well...Kohli always had the talent..at least this is what Indian selectors thought.When he was drafted in the Indian team after he won the Junior WC,I thought selectors made a mistake.He did well in those ODI's in 2010.Then came WC11 and whole of India was made to look furious by Bombay lobby coz he was picked ahead of Rohit.From 09 till WC11 he was just good player just abt keeping his place.Then the real turning point came in 2011 after WC his innings against SL in AUS/Asia cup, test matches against AUD as Ian pointed.As per the reports Kohli is very hard working player who sweat it out in nets and field more than anyone else.He is physically very fit and with the kind of innings he played after 2011 he has become very tough.We will see that in the 4rth ODI against NZ especially after his one failure in 3rd ODI. He wants to impose on opposition bowlers in shorter format and leaves lot bowls in tests matches.Still in tests his SR is high coz he punishes loose bowls as well.

  • sudhir98 on January 26, 2014, 16:28 GMT

    Non Indian fans may not know this but kohli was almost written off in 2008 right after he captained India U19 team to win the world cup. He had to endure a long dark period and had to wait around for his next chance. That is why he is so hungry for runs and has that edge to his game. Same thing with rayudu talented cricketer, troubled history, waiting around for redemption- I think he will grab his opportunity with both hands when given the opportunity.

  • on January 26, 2014, 16:12 GMT

    @ Maruthudelft should actually have read something about Sachin's work ethic before they say he was unfit in 90s and couldn't play pull shot. Dude, he carried a heavier bat than anybody even as a 16 year old. How strong should his hands be for that? He was always India's fastest runner between wickets and scored a 200 in ODI's as 38 year old and fielded in second innings. In 90s he was far fitter than that. He didn't miss a single test in 90s. Played more ODI cricket than any other and of course played the pull shot and hook shot. You are just arguing without proof. Sachin at 25 compared to Kohli is difficult but he already had 10 more test 100s at 25. He is comparable but to say outright is very difficult. Playing pull shot is a question of risk assessment and he chose to play it lesser than others as he felt that it gave his opponents chance.

  • cricketsubh on January 26, 2014, 16:10 GMT

    i do not think kholi is a world class test batsmen yes he score runs in s.a tour also hughes score big runs when he 1st tour to s.a i do not agree with chappell in his view as a batsmen u score in perth makes u great player i donoy think that scoring 100 is not every think in cricket wining the match is very think and perth wicket every one knows platen out in last 10 years so scoring runs in perth not that difficult and hughes need to work on his teqnic to success in test cricket.

  • batman_gothamcity on January 26, 2014, 16:02 GMT

    Kohli seems to have ticked all the boxes for a good batsman overseas , however one aspect needs to be seen is the ability to handle moving balls in cold or wet conditions on green wickets . Test series against New Zealand will provide the answer before the sterner test against England in Eng . Hope he passes the test .

  • boomslanger on January 26, 2014, 15:50 GMT

    VIRAT KOHLI Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave SR 100s 50s

    Tests 22 37 3 1507 119 44 50 5 8 ODIs128 121 18 5361 183 52 90 18 29

    PHIL HUGHES Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave SR 100s 50s Tests26 49 2 1535 160 33 54 3 7 ODIs20 19 1 660 138* 37 75 2 2

    SHAUN MARSH Mat Inns NO Runs HS Ave SR 100s 50s Tests7 11 0 301 141 27 41 1 1 ODIs45 44 2 1667 151 40 77 3 10 CRICINFO STAFF: IT was quite a pain to cull the relevant stats and format them to post here. Pleas post this. It shall be handy to settle (or not) quite a few discussions here. THANKS! There's no comparison between Virat Kohli and Phil Hughes. Kohli smokes him. The reason my be simply the opportunities Hughes got. To judge him by his performance in India would be like judging say, Shikhar Dhawan by his performance in SA.

  • on January 26, 2014, 15:22 GMT

    i think kohli is the most complete batsman after AB devillear in all formats in current times, specially in odi and t20, at test level he is not as great as clark, amla,peterson,cook,sangakara but kohli is improving series after series. he has all the shots to score runs and temperament to play big innings, so very very bright future to a very talented cricketer is awating

  • on January 26, 2014, 15:17 GMT

    i think kohli is the most complete batsman after AB devillear in all formats in current times, specially in odi and t20, at test level he is not as great as clark, amla,peterson,cook,sangakara but kohli is improving series after series. he has all the shots to score runs and temperament to play big innings, so very very bright future to a very talented cricketer is awating

  • Deckchair on January 26, 2014, 15:14 GMT

    Chappelli talks about Phil Hughes piling up FC runs with monotonous regularity. But at the height of summer around the announcement of the side for SA, Phil Hughes's last 7 innings are all T20! That's no way to build (or rebuild) a technique.....

  • MaruthuDelft on January 26, 2014, 14:34 GMT

    Kohli is better than even Tendulakr. Tendulkar fell onto the usual Indian habit of avoiding work outs; they always seem to think if they attend to the core issue, in this case batting, it will be enough. Who would forget Queen Elizabeth's husband's joke on the upside down electrical switch? Tendulkar was never fit after early nineties so he could never play the pull. Kohli it looks like goes through regular hard physical work out routines like players from Australia and South Africa.

  • on January 26, 2014, 14:15 GMT

    Ponting may have had an influence on Kohli. His approach to batting is similar to Ponting looking to attack and score runs. But whether he goes onto be as good as Ponting only time will tell but looks like he's well on his way!!

  • warneneverchuck on January 26, 2014, 14:13 GMT

    I think kohli is among very few along with abd who can perform well in any format in any country. Though abd is better than kohli at this stage. One can also include pujara who is batting very well in longer version

  • vswami on January 26, 2014, 14:13 GMT

    Some people may feel Sachin overstayed in the Indian team, but one unmistakeable benefit of his presence has been mentoring the youngsters who played with him. Especially Kohli who looks unrecognisable from when he made his debut, both in technique and temperament. He is carrying forward the legacy of sheer bloody minded run machine that Sachin was.

  • on January 26, 2014, 13:59 GMT

    Another worthy comparison could be that between Kohli and Rohit Sharma/Shaun Marsh. At least with Rohit Sharma I know "Experts" were upset that Kohli was picked ahead of Sharma for 2011 World Cup and even the Perth and Adelaide tests. Kohli's graph has just skyrocketed ever since. Kohli's mental strength is unnerving where as Sharma is as fragile as paper. When he finds success, he can hardly handle it(Look at his post match press conferences), and when he fails he hardly has any idea how to come out of slump. I even saw an interview where Symonds described him as "Lazy Player" who would get stick from him for not training enough.

  • hyclass on January 26, 2014, 13:26 GMT

    I continue to see the sheep like repetition of the headline 'found out' as though it was personally conceived or has fact. How many hundreds of thousands came before, repeating the same words they have read or heard? It's very instructive to observe the lack of independent thought. This is only the information age, if people choose to investigate thoroughly and develop their own information streams. Hughes wasn't out once to this method of dismissal in the Tests. Naturally Hughes was less, after joining the '09 squad. It is evident at all times that he is playing a different game with a different technique from the previous SA series and for Middlesex. It must immediately be asked 'why?' ,when he was so amazingly successful. One changes by choice,what doesn't work, not what does. Hughes wasnt the first. Hauritz claimed Ponting demanded he bowl like Harbajan in India, something from which he never recovered. The response of the SA team to Hughes after his success, does them no service.

  • SICHO on January 26, 2014, 12:31 GMT

    Most Aussies forgot that Hughes toured South Africa in 2011. His magic against us suddenly disappeared because he only managed 117 runs @ 29,25. Sorry but the idea that "he's good against the Saffers" suprises me, even the selectors thought so when they decided to hide him from Steyn, Morkel and Philander in 2012 tour. Kohli against the same attack , in the same no. of matches scored 272 runs @ 68. So comparing these 2 guys is in someway inappropriate. Kohli can play pace and spin, Hughes is not a finished product against pace and can't play spin. Its not like those who adviced him to change his technique hold his bat for him when he's about to bat

  • hyclass on January 26, 2014, 12:23 GMT

    Once again, I see cause and effect in reverse and the repetition of headlines as fact, without either effective personal investigation of data or courting the objections. Hughes rise again in Shield cricket this season, is predicated on returning to his original game. That to me is the sign of a healthy mind returning. While not at his best, 549 runs in 5 Shield games at 61 with 3 x 100's and a high of 204 is a strong indicator. At the same time, his numbers in List A and 20/20 are falling to their old levels.Again a healthy indicator. IMO, Hughes natural level is a 1st class average of 60-63 and a similar S/R. I expect that next year, he will carry this form back into Test cricket. His career is divided into two parts-before he joined the '09 Ashes squad, where he was peerless with no problems-and from that point, where he had no answers and looked like a non-batsman. A complete change of approach and technique was in evidence. Based on what had preceded it, one might well ask 'why'.

  • Aristotle01 on January 26, 2014, 12:17 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx : I am aussie mate but am shocked to know that you would have rated Hughesy as a test player AT ALL after his tours of India and England. He was never even remotely in the same league as Kohli, who sure was a little slow to start of in Test cricket,but who always oozed tremendous class, quality and confidence. Kohli's shown he can score runs against all types of bowling overseas too and his only struggle has come against the might of Rampaul and Sammy in his debut test series. Since then, he has been brilliant and the recent SA tour confirmed him as possibly the next Lara or Tendulkar of our times. Hughesy on the other hand, it pains me to say, is an average player with a dodgy technique that has been found wanting against good pace bowling( Eng 2009) and Spin bowling too( Ind 2013 etc). Hope Hughesy fights back but to say he was ever better than Kholi is ridiculous. Please publish cricinfo

  • Aristotle01 on January 26, 2014, 12:12 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx : I am aussie mate but am shocked to know that you would have rated Hughesy as a test player AT ALL after his tours of India and England. He was never even remotely in the same league as Kohli, who sure was a little slow to start of in Test cricket,but who always oozed tremendous class, quality and confidence. Kohli's shown he can score runs against all types of bowling overseas too and his only struggle has come against the might of Rampaul and Sammy in his debut test series. Since then, he has been brilliant and the recent SA tour confirmed him as possibly the next Lara or Tendulkar of our times. Hughesy on the other hand, it pains me to say, is an average player with a dodgy technique that has been found wanting against good pace bowling( Eng 2009) and Spin bowling too( Ind 2013 etc). Hope Hughesy fights back but to say he was ever better than Kholi is ridiculous. Please publish cricinfo.

  • Simoc on January 26, 2014, 12:06 GMT

    Hughes is not a victim.He was in great form, great confidence and lost it though he was poorly treated by the selectors in 2009. He is a confidence player and looks everything but confident at test level now. In fact he always looks like he'll be out next ball. Kohli on the other hand is a class player and probably the best batsman in world cricket currently. He is an exciting batsman to watch and may become a great in the game. When he started Hughes seemed to be heading there, but got found out and was unable to adjust quickly as test batsmen must.

  • xtrafalgarx on January 26, 2014, 11:48 GMT

    In ODI cricket, Kohli is a god. In test cricket, he is a bit iffy. I would have rated Hughesy a better long form player than Kohli till his century in SA.

  • boomslanger on January 26, 2014, 11:47 GMT

    @Andrew Franks Please view cricinfo stats on Kohli before making such statements.

    @TheBigBoodha If a chip on the shoulder is all it needed to bat against Steyn, all of the Australian side (being so full of vinegar after the 5-0 Ashes win) would not have to worry about Shaun Marsh or Hughes. Watch kohl's inning at Durban and learn. Dogged determination, technique, Discipline and, yes, some attitude is written all over it. An inning that even the South Africans admired as one of the best played in South Africa. I do not see why the rest of the world gets jealous of sub continental batsmen. They produce batting geniuses as we produce fast bowlers. Except Pakistan which produces both. Sometimes in one package like the great Imran Khan!

  • on January 26, 2014, 11:41 GMT

    Chapelli isn't trying to directly compare the talent of the two, he is trying to illustrate how their careers have taken completely different turns.

    Ian, I'd be interested to know whether you feel Phil Hughes deserves to be in the Australian squad ahead of players like Marsh and Doolan? On Shield form you would think he would have merited selection, but for some reason he is being ignored. He alas has a good record in SA. I wonder if there is more going on behind the scenes with Hughes and CA? It seems odd, he is still young. What more does he need to do to warrant selection.

  • george204 on January 26, 2014, 11:40 GMT

    Hughes' Lords failures are especially baffling as he piled up runs there while playing for Middlesex. I think you are right about his mindset being the cause, although technique must play a part too. If it was as easy as being aggressive, then any old slogger could have a test career. In reality, bowlers have probably worked him out.

  • hyclass on January 26, 2014, 11:23 GMT

    There are more holistic lessons to be learned from the observation of data in the Hughes case. I subscribe strongly to scientific methodology as the path to fact & evolution over emotion. As Hughes changed game took hold, his 1st class numbers fell from a high of 63, to a low of 44. At the same time, his List A and 20/20 numbers rose from around 35 to 50. This season-one in which he indicated his return to his old methods, his Shield average is 61, he has 3 x 100's and his List A and 20/20 averages are falling. I suggest that his place is in Test and 1st Class cricket, rather than ODI or T20. Bailey talked of his own loss of 1st Class form to short form cricket. Neither Finch, nor Marsh can buy a 1st Class run and are fortunate to be in their respective Shield sides. It must be remembered that players were told, weight would be given to form in all 3 styles, for selection. I unhesitatingly class a toxic CA obsession with 20/20 revenues, as the source of malaise in traditional cricket.

  • bonobo on January 26, 2014, 11:22 GMT

    I agree with most of the comments on here, the difference is largely to do with one player having a very good technique and the other a technique, that is vulnerable to variety of different bowling approaches. It is not a matter of being 'unorthodox', it's being not good enough. Hughes does have some other exceptional qualities which compensate to a degree, but not enough to state that he is a test batsman who can scores runs consistently at an average of 40, whilst not being vulnerable to being dominated for good bowlers. He started brilliantly but once opponents got a look at him, even before any changes in technique, his returns rapidly diminished. It is reactionary to believe that a player can't improve by making changes to their game and P hil Hughes will need to before he can become a test batsmen. He is a young batsmen, who has had several turns at test level, he is talented and has plenty of time to make a return, leave him to improve his batting for now and give others a chanc

  • jb633 on January 26, 2014, 10:35 GMT

    The difference is that Kholi has more talent in his little finger than Hughes has in his whole body. Hughes was found out very quickly in international cricket and has never had a response to people working him over. Kholi is a genius with the bat in hand and IMO will be the best player of this generation.

  • on January 26, 2014, 10:04 GMT

    It is absolutely wrong to compare persons. You can compare data. Techniques differ from person to person. Real strength of cricketer is tested at rough roads. Where I feel Virat is fast & quick in adjusting depending on needs and pitch. Greater is the challenge faster he adjusts. His bat speed and leg movement is very fast. Phil needs to develop this art particularly against spin at turning pitches. It is too early to read and comment about at this stage.

  • charithdasun on January 26, 2014, 10:02 GMT

    I feel comparing these two is unfair when u consider the talent kohli produced.I am big fan of kohli. He is well above the player like dhawn & rohit who are only score when the conditions in their favour.Kohli will be among the best going around and he will remain for while. I am watching cricket for more than 15 years. I did not see Sir viv batted.But i think kohli is not too far behind.

  • ygkd on January 26, 2014, 9:51 GMT

    Hughes is an unorthodox batsman and probably should have been largely left alone. Much is made of orthodox technique vs the opposite - it is like a second nature v nurture debate in cricket. Even arguably the greatest player in the game, Sobers, was I understand a believer in his own unorthodoxy as part of his success. Yet was Sir Garfield fundamentally so, or was he a largely orthodox batsman who chose to do unorthodox things? Hughes, I reckon, largely has little choice. It might too have helped if some of his team-mates had more orthodox techniques. It is hard to see how Hughes, Warner, Smith etc all fit in the one batting line-up without it tending to fragility. Had he been an Indian, Hughes never would have had to face that problem. There would have been enough orthodox types in the Indian batting order to fit alongside. Funny too, how the one who debuted later has done better. It may even have helped Hughes if hadn't been selected so young. A bit of maturity can go a long way.

  • hyclass on January 26, 2014, 9:38 GMT

    The public protestations of the SA team after Hughes humiliated them, does them little service. The highlights of both Hughes 100's are on youtube and tell a very different story, including leg-side boundaries. The idea that the world's best bowlers bowled hundreds of bad overs in the same Test to Hughes is poor sportsmanship. It only takes a few overs to adjust to any batsman. The Eng plan was well, but not better executed. All that had changed, was Hughes response. His backfoot movement to leg, was almost non-existent or hesitant at best. He was pilloried for having it and yet it was a pivotal to his side-on game and late adjustment. His feet were slow moving and he appeared to have fewer options. I deem it certain that he was under instruction to play differently-as DeCosta, who coaches juniors in India and was his then mentor, publicly suggested. My advice is to forget all and return to his original peerless game. His only flaw then was a slightly cavalier attitude v slow bowlers.

  • hyclass on January 26, 2014, 9:25 GMT

    Hughes record on joining the squad in '09, was extraordinary. 1st Class average of 63, Test average of 69, Shield Player of the Year, Bradman Medallist, Steve Waugh Medallist, several records in Wisden, 1637 runs in the preceding10 games at 96 on 3 continents.3 games with Middlesex yielded almost 600 runs with a high of 195*. In the Tests, Hughes made 36 caught slip, 4 gloved down the leg side and 17, given out, caught Strauss in slip, when the ball hit the ground-something that cant occur under the DRS. 57 runs at 19. None out to short balls. It only occurred in the Eng Lions game and as DeCosta, his mentor and coach-with him on that tour stated-he was 'forced' to play differently on joining the squad. One does not 'fluke' twin 100's against an attack of Steyn, Ntini, Kallis, Morkel and Harris at home. There's delusion in the suggestion.The continued persecution of Hughes brings shame upon those who do it. I unhesitatingly class him the victim of internal politics,rife at the time.

  • MasterClass on January 26, 2014, 9:12 GMT

    I don't know too much about Phil Hughes except that he never really impressed (me) as a batsman to take seriously in international (test) cricket. However I believe Ian has it exactly correct about Virat's change / improvement once he started thinking primarily about scoring. I see that quality in a few other youngsters in the Indian side: Pujara and most recently Rahane. I hope they continue to back their ability and nature, because it makes for great viewing: win, lose or draw.

  • boomslanger on January 26, 2014, 8:51 GMT

    @popcorn Really! Shaun Marsh ? Everyone, even the Indians and Sri Lankans know why Shaun Marsh is in the team and welcome his presence. He is a weak link in an otherwise set batting order. Bat him at No.5? That is a very vital position specially in South Africa where it is not unlikely that a few wickets may be lost early. Replacing one broken link with another is not the fix. Like India, why are not youngsters from even U19 or other bright youngsters from Sheffield's picked up even if they are not "Seniors"

  • popcorn on January 26, 2014, 8:08 GMT

    I am surprised that Ian Chappell is saying that Phil Hughes should not have altered his technique. Hughes is undependable,his twin centuries in South africa 2009 were a fluke. I say this with conviction,because,since those two centuries,not very long after,in the same year,he has been "found out" in The Ashes 2009, and had to be dropped.His failure at the top was one of the reasons we lost the Ashes 2009. He had to be replaced by Shane Watson,because we had no one else to take his place - so dependent were we we on Hughes. Then he was given a second chance -this time he holds this world record:Caught Guptill, Bowled Martin in the slips,4 TIMES! What technique! And then he failed in India, and in England - what is Chappelli talking about? I am glad the sensible John Inverarity has sent him this message that a mountain of runs is not as important as good Top of the OrderTechnique - and selected the classier,better technique Shaun Marsh for South Africa.Hughes is fit for ODIs and T20 only

  • sifter132 on January 26, 2014, 7:28 GMT

    Disagree that Hughes' technique change has been bad. His new technique now lets him work balls off his legs. Before that he was too square and missed a lot of leg side scoring opportunities. That is huge because bowlers used to be able to bowl straight at him without fear of him scoring or getting off strike. Now he can, and that means they have to stay off his pads a little, which gives Hughes a greater chance of getting width - which is what he wants. His problem now is scoring vs off spinners...

  • TheBigBoodha on January 26, 2014, 7:14 GMT

    Maybe Huges should become a complete twit with a huge chip on his shoulder and a sense of entitlement. That should do it, I think. Has worked wonders for Kohli.

  • aus_trad on January 26, 2014, 7:04 GMT

    One way of putting it is that if Phil Hughes had had the good fortune to start his test career 10-15 years earlier, he would now be established in the side, because he would have been given far more chances in a strong team. Hughes has been unfairly made the scapegoat on each of the last 2 England tours (2009 & 2013) - ridiculously dropped because Aus were down in the series and the selectors panicked. Yes, I am a Hughes fan - mainly because he has the potential to be (still) the best Aus batsman since Clarke. As a number of others have commented here, he simply hasn't been given the chances that, for instance, Watson has. It is my hope that when Chris Rogers finishes in a year or so, the selectors will give Hughes the extended chance his talents warrant - and encourage him to go back to what he does best: blasting the cover off the ball outside off stump.

  • on January 26, 2014, 7:02 GMT

    I think too much is being said in India of Kohli's 'attitude'. I have always found him to be very competitive on field. Outside the field, I dont care how he lives his life! Yes he looks an exciting captaincy prospect, though it remains to be seen how he picks/chooses bowlers in his team, given a chance. Reg players being too many chances - same is said in India about Rohit Sharma too. Unless players push their way, no point in talking about people doing badly when they were given their chances.

  • __PK on January 26, 2014, 6:56 GMT

    hyclass, you ask what really happened? You answer your own question in the previous sentence. He was "found out." Fact, not assumption. The bowling was inferior, but had better plans and discovered the gaping hole in his technique. Something which the SA attack, by their own admission, failed to do.

  • Cpt.Meanster on January 26, 2014, 6:49 GMT

    Phil Hughes' failure in India was blown out of proportion by the former coach Mickey Arthur and skipper Clarke. He was on his first trip to India and MOST overseas players are overwhelmed while playing in India under tough circumstances. He should have been given more opportunities. He has the elements of becoming a good player for Australia at the top of the order. Very sad to see his name being totally ignored for the tour to SA next month.

  • Rahul_78 on January 26, 2014, 6:34 GMT

    Ians article makes lot of valid points but a very important chapter in Kohlis growth has been left out. Kohli always had the game, swagger and the temperament to succeed at the top level. What was lacking was the discipline form his game. Winning the under 19 world cup and big bucks in IPL had made him rudderless. That is when he was fortunate enough to come under the guidance of Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble at RCB. Under the meticulous and disciplined Dravid and tough task master Kumble he discovered the right attributes to success and has never looked back since. May be Hughes who is tremendously talented wasnt fortunate enough to get the guiding force at the right time.

  • AidanFX on January 26, 2014, 6:12 GMT

    Hughes is the kind of personality who can fulfill his ability if he is given a go - already this season he managed a double century. He did do not much a Big Bash (old Hughes could play that format) but still - he is basically the best young batsmen in the country - The guy could destroy bowling lineups if he were given an extended go at it.

  • on January 26, 2014, 6:06 GMT

    I don't know much about Phil Hughes, but it does seem that Kohli has been slowly groomed into the Test squad. He had the opportunity to first gain confidence in the ODIs, and then made the transition. With Phil Hughes it seemed that he was thrown into the deep end without being nurtured. End result is that you have one shining star, and one struggling test aspirant.

  • AidanFX on January 26, 2014, 5:57 GMT

    Hughes was dropped prematurely in 2009 in England. He got got out to a couple of short deliveries; so what? Steve Waugh was said to be vulnerable to the short ball but he found ways to get off strike and it arguably became a strength for him. Hughes would have found a solution to the problem. He was messed around. Ian Chappell was one of the guys calling him to change his technique in 2009. Glad he sees the superfluous nature of it now. What 20 yr old against best bowling line up in the world scores back to back centuries in the same match (on back of debut second innings 50), except an incredibly talented player. He was ruined.

  • on January 26, 2014, 5:29 GMT

    I believe the key difference lies in the way both have been treated by their respective captains and selection pannels. When Kohli first emerged he did have some technical problems but the captain and the selectors backed him. I still remember how much criticsm he was under after Sydney 2011. The team and captain however backed him and then the results came. Despite his early technical problems Dhoni backed him and allowed him to learn. Hughes on the other hand has hardly been allowed to fail for two games in a row. He also has been tossed all around the batting order and has had to do roles which he had little practice in. Rather than backing him, they have consistently dropped after just two or 3 failures and ruined any confidence. Watching both bat there is a total difference in body language. While Virat has a confident and almost arrogant body language, Hughes looks nervous and timid as he knows even one failure and he is dropped.

  • ygkd on January 26, 2014, 5:07 GMT

    One can see a similar problem with Khawaja. His problem was not his youth - he debuted at about the same as Hughes is now. Khawaja's problem was being messed around, till he became messed-up. The same things happen in miniature all the time from the under-twelves upwards. It is only in much later retrospect that such things are proven, as much as they can be, and by then nobody much bothers to care any more. Though the cricket history books will have a bit to say on the subject of Phillip Hughes, most probably about stuff outside his control, as usual it'll all be too late.

  • ygkd on January 26, 2014, 4:54 GMT

    Is Australia, who used to depend heavily on young batsmen, now placing its faith in more experienced players the cause of Hughes' woes and, if so, why? Back in Chappelli's early days, it wasn't unusual for players, like Simpson, to quit before their time, the pay being what it was - paltry. Nowadays, its a career, so batsmen will stick around and fresh young bats won't be needed as often. Yet, older batsmen are not always being preferred. Hodge found he was unwanted. Rogers had to wait and wait. North could have the Shield season of his life and still won't get a sniff. India's situation of going for youth was an understandable reaction to their inevitable loss of aging greats. Australia has seemed to not know what it wanted to do. As a result, Hughes looks to have been infected with a similar mindset. Maybe if he'd been persevered with he'd have turned the corner, but I still reckon you can only fit so much unorthodoxy in one team and Hughes'd be a much better fit in a different one.

  • hyclass on January 26, 2014, 4:38 GMT

    It wasn't just a 'faith' circumstance @Chris_Howard. At the time, Neil De Costa stated publicly that on joining the Ashes squad, he was' forced to prepare in a way that wasn't suited to him.' In other words, on joining the squad as an impressionable 20 year old from a country town, in De Costa's words, he was forced to change his game by someone in that squad - pre Lions. It was never investigated. Once the 'technique myth' which was given much publicity, gained traction, the observation of cause and effect were reversed and it was widely assumed that the failings were Hughes. He was hardly going to say anything publicly. Each time he joined the Test squad, he was forced to don this 'false technique' mantle. One only has to look at the highlights of his twin 100's in SA against a far superior, then 1100 wicket attack of Steyn, Ntini, Morkel, Kallis and Harris, to see that he was playing a vastly different game with a very different technique when he started playing in the Ashes team.

  • on January 26, 2014, 4:24 GMT

    I can't believe guys like Watson and Marsh can get so many opportunities, but someone like Hughes or Khawaja can't get a proper run in the team.

  • vik56in on January 26, 2014, 4:17 GMT

    Phil Hughes is a confidence player much like Mitchell Johnson is ! There is no questioning his talent and ability.But it is the mental part of it that he is lacking.Kohli is not anymore talented than Hughes is ,it is just that he is blessed with more self -belief.Phil Hughes needs support and backing from the Australian board.

  • adamtwittey on January 26, 2014, 3:58 GMT

    "Relying on more experienced players" is wrong, in my opinion. The Aussie selectors just have a fascination with/against certain players and it's just unhealthy. We have the Shaun Marsh obsession, the Watson obsession, the Brad Hodge snubbing, the Simon Katich snubbing, the obsession with finding a new spinner who's better than Warne (if Lyon wasn't so Lyon-hearted, he'd have given up by now with the number of times he's been wrongly dropped). I think it's destroyed more promising international player than it's actually made.

  • hyclass on January 26, 2014, 3:46 GMT

    Dear Ian. As a long time observer and admirer of Hughes, it would wonderful to have someone investigate the facts behind his fall thoroughly. Few are in a better position to do so. In the lead up to joining the Aus team in '09, Hughes had 1637 runs in 10 games at 96, with 8 x 100's on 3 continents. When one looks at highlights of the SA 100's and then Eng, one is immediately struck by the total change in character and style of his game. It was assumed that he had been 'found out', but the Eng attack was far inferior to the SA-then 1100 Test wicket attack of Ntini, Steyn, Morkel, Harris and Kallis. So what really happened? Neil DeCosta, his long time mentor said that on joining the squad, he was 'forced to prepare in a way that wasn't suited to he or his game'. That would be my starting point. The idea that as a shorter opening bat, that he was facing anything new, was absurd. After the 2nd Test, Nielsen said he hadn't been in their original Ashes plan-Watson was pencilled in.

  • on January 26, 2014, 3:44 GMT

    same comparison we can do between kohli and umer akmal where umer started great but went to lose all his credibility. Umer is highly talented batsman but his not well used by Pakistani management and now he has to play with wicket keeper to stay in short format of the game. Kohli will go on to become Indian captain and umer and hughes will not be known after two three years.

  • on January 26, 2014, 3:35 GMT

    After years of subservience to senior batsmen, India have finally been forced to become more youthful, and it's paying dividends. Conversely Australia, who used to depend heavily on young batsmen ...... experienced players.

    That is one way of looking at it. The other way is that Indian selectors have historically given their main players chances and chances till their hands have been forced, while Austraila has always been quick to give even their top players the chop after a string of failures. The thing is, even as late as 15 years ago, India did not have a lot of talent, and Australia had the best domestic league, producing an assembly line of the best cricketers. The nurture was great. Is not the case anymore - Ranji is of a fairly high standard // IPL has come in to ensure decent pay packages // Aussie leagues have deteriorated. At this point, the Indian way of selection would suit Australia better, and the Aussie way the Indians. Plus ca change?

  • Chris_Howard on January 26, 2014, 3:21 GMT

    The difference is, Hughes was treated like crap by the selectors. Tossed out after just a couple of failures in England destroyed his confidence, and he's never really looked confident in his technique since, changing it every time he gets dropped.

    If the selectors showed the same faith in him as they did Watson - who failed for three years but stlll held his place - Hughes would now be excelling and be Australian vice captain.

  • on January 26, 2014, 3:18 GMT

    It's more in mind, I would say. Also selection process should be fair enough and should give enough time to a player, Hughes was never given that time, long time. Also, if you have small shortcoming, media will put too much pressure on you, now it is up to batsman to be able to cope it. He was said to be having problem with short ball, given more time, he could have figured out much better than subcontinental batsmen. Also, Steve Waugh, Ganguly did not did much bad & then we have Suresh Raina. Hughes coould have tried to find what he want to become Steve or Suresh. Also, offside problem, is not really a problem, fishing is. With better attitude even this can be fixed. Example in case I will give Murali Vijay. Not the leading light in batting. But he chose a simple principle, LEAVE leave anything outside off. Now Hughes is much much better batsman than Vijay so no reason why he can not figure it out. Once set he is beautiful to watch. He will come good, I believe.

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  • on January 26, 2014, 3:18 GMT

    It's more in mind, I would say. Also selection process should be fair enough and should give enough time to a player, Hughes was never given that time, long time. Also, if you have small shortcoming, media will put too much pressure on you, now it is up to batsman to be able to cope it. He was said to be having problem with short ball, given more time, he could have figured out much better than subcontinental batsmen. Also, Steve Waugh, Ganguly did not did much bad & then we have Suresh Raina. Hughes coould have tried to find what he want to become Steve or Suresh. Also, offside problem, is not really a problem, fishing is. With better attitude even this can be fixed. Example in case I will give Murali Vijay. Not the leading light in batting. But he chose a simple principle, LEAVE leave anything outside off. Now Hughes is much much better batsman than Vijay so no reason why he can not figure it out. Once set he is beautiful to watch. He will come good, I believe.

  • Chris_Howard on January 26, 2014, 3:21 GMT

    The difference is, Hughes was treated like crap by the selectors. Tossed out after just a couple of failures in England destroyed his confidence, and he's never really looked confident in his technique since, changing it every time he gets dropped.

    If the selectors showed the same faith in him as they did Watson - who failed for three years but stlll held his place - Hughes would now be excelling and be Australian vice captain.

  • on January 26, 2014, 3:35 GMT

    After years of subservience to senior batsmen, India have finally been forced to become more youthful, and it's paying dividends. Conversely Australia, who used to depend heavily on young batsmen ...... experienced players.

    That is one way of looking at it. The other way is that Indian selectors have historically given their main players chances and chances till their hands have been forced, while Austraila has always been quick to give even their top players the chop after a string of failures. The thing is, even as late as 15 years ago, India did not have a lot of talent, and Australia had the best domestic league, producing an assembly line of the best cricketers. The nurture was great. Is not the case anymore - Ranji is of a fairly high standard // IPL has come in to ensure decent pay packages // Aussie leagues have deteriorated. At this point, the Indian way of selection would suit Australia better, and the Aussie way the Indians. Plus ca change?

  • on January 26, 2014, 3:44 GMT

    same comparison we can do between kohli and umer akmal where umer started great but went to lose all his credibility. Umer is highly talented batsman but his not well used by Pakistani management and now he has to play with wicket keeper to stay in short format of the game. Kohli will go on to become Indian captain and umer and hughes will not be known after two three years.

  • hyclass on January 26, 2014, 3:46 GMT

    Dear Ian. As a long time observer and admirer of Hughes, it would wonderful to have someone investigate the facts behind his fall thoroughly. Few are in a better position to do so. In the lead up to joining the Aus team in '09, Hughes had 1637 runs in 10 games at 96, with 8 x 100's on 3 continents. When one looks at highlights of the SA 100's and then Eng, one is immediately struck by the total change in character and style of his game. It was assumed that he had been 'found out', but the Eng attack was far inferior to the SA-then 1100 Test wicket attack of Ntini, Steyn, Morkel, Harris and Kallis. So what really happened? Neil DeCosta, his long time mentor said that on joining the squad, he was 'forced to prepare in a way that wasn't suited to he or his game'. That would be my starting point. The idea that as a shorter opening bat, that he was facing anything new, was absurd. After the 2nd Test, Nielsen said he hadn't been in their original Ashes plan-Watson was pencilled in.

  • adamtwittey on January 26, 2014, 3:58 GMT

    "Relying on more experienced players" is wrong, in my opinion. The Aussie selectors just have a fascination with/against certain players and it's just unhealthy. We have the Shaun Marsh obsession, the Watson obsession, the Brad Hodge snubbing, the Simon Katich snubbing, the obsession with finding a new spinner who's better than Warne (if Lyon wasn't so Lyon-hearted, he'd have given up by now with the number of times he's been wrongly dropped). I think it's destroyed more promising international player than it's actually made.

  • vik56in on January 26, 2014, 4:17 GMT

    Phil Hughes is a confidence player much like Mitchell Johnson is ! There is no questioning his talent and ability.But it is the mental part of it that he is lacking.Kohli is not anymore talented than Hughes is ,it is just that he is blessed with more self -belief.Phil Hughes needs support and backing from the Australian board.

  • on January 26, 2014, 4:24 GMT

    I can't believe guys like Watson and Marsh can get so many opportunities, but someone like Hughes or Khawaja can't get a proper run in the team.

  • hyclass on January 26, 2014, 4:38 GMT

    It wasn't just a 'faith' circumstance @Chris_Howard. At the time, Neil De Costa stated publicly that on joining the Ashes squad, he was' forced to prepare in a way that wasn't suited to him.' In other words, on joining the squad as an impressionable 20 year old from a country town, in De Costa's words, he was forced to change his game by someone in that squad - pre Lions. It was never investigated. Once the 'technique myth' which was given much publicity, gained traction, the observation of cause and effect were reversed and it was widely assumed that the failings were Hughes. He was hardly going to say anything publicly. Each time he joined the Test squad, he was forced to don this 'false technique' mantle. One only has to look at the highlights of his twin 100's in SA against a far superior, then 1100 wicket attack of Steyn, Ntini, Morkel, Kallis and Harris, to see that he was playing a vastly different game with a very different technique when he started playing in the Ashes team.

  • ygkd on January 26, 2014, 4:54 GMT

    Is Australia, who used to depend heavily on young batsmen, now placing its faith in more experienced players the cause of Hughes' woes and, if so, why? Back in Chappelli's early days, it wasn't unusual for players, like Simpson, to quit before their time, the pay being what it was - paltry. Nowadays, its a career, so batsmen will stick around and fresh young bats won't be needed as often. Yet, older batsmen are not always being preferred. Hodge found he was unwanted. Rogers had to wait and wait. North could have the Shield season of his life and still won't get a sniff. India's situation of going for youth was an understandable reaction to their inevitable loss of aging greats. Australia has seemed to not know what it wanted to do. As a result, Hughes looks to have been infected with a similar mindset. Maybe if he'd been persevered with he'd have turned the corner, but I still reckon you can only fit so much unorthodoxy in one team and Hughes'd be a much better fit in a different one.