The Investec Ashes 2013 June 18, 2013

Hughes seeks to repair confidence

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Phillip Hughes is adamant he can repair his shaken confidence in three warm-up matches ahead of the first Investec Ashes Test at Trent Bridge, starting with Australia A's fixture against Gloucestershire in Bristol from Friday.

A paltry return of 57 runs in five limited-overs innings on this England tour so far has not enhanced Hughes' claims to a spot in the Australian top order for the Test matches to come, particularly when they are added to his poor record against England - 154 runs at 17.11 in five Tests spread across the past two series - and a dire recent tour of India.

But the selectors' decision to send Hughes and Matthew Wade to Bristol to join Australia A will now afford Hughes a trio of first-class matches in which to strive for runs before the Test squad rolls into Nottingham. A century or three over the next two weeks would not only enhance Hughes' chances of retention in the Test team, but also send self-recriminating thoughts of a poor Champions Trophy to the back of his mind.

"I'm really looking forward to getting a couple training days in Bristol and starting Friday," Hughes said in London. "Hopefully spend a bit of time in the middle and get my mental game around the red ball now. It was disappointing to be knocked out and lose those games of cricket in the Champions Trophy, but that's behind us now, it's about moving on.

"We'll be disappointed for a day or two but it's all about the red ball now and we'll get into preparation. Behind the scenes in the nets now all my focus will be on the red ball. It can be at times tricky to juggle formats but the beauty of it is there's still a way to go before the Ashes and we've got some good cricket coming up to that first Test."

Largely due to a homespun batting technique that relies heavily on an uncluttered mind and an exceptional eye rather than precise footwork or a watertight defence, confidence is more critical to Hughes' chances of success than most. This contention is backed up by his penchant for scoring great swathes of runs on some days and looking like the bat is an alien object in his hands on others.

The latter state of affairs was in evidence at The Oval against Sri Lanka, where Hughes used the inside and outside edges far more often than the middle on his way to a fretful 13. He did not look like a batsman thinking clearly and simply about the task at hand. Nevertheless, Hughes argued that four years around international cricket now meant he would be far better prepared to do so when the Ashes begin than he had been on his previous visit to England in 2009.

"It's a tough one," Hughes said of keeping distractions from his mind at the batting crease. "The older you get the better you are at it, I think. You speak to players in the past and they sometimes say you mature at 28-29 years of age. One thing for me is I've still got age on my side. I've been very lucky to be around the international scene for four years, and I feel like I'm in a lot better space than I was four years ago. I feel like my game's come a long, and also mentally it's come along. I suppose it's a pleasing thing going forward, but day in day out I'm still looking to get better.

"One thing around the Ashes is huge hype, so it's about staying as calm as possible and wiping out as much media and outside influence as possible, and keeping a tight team unit. I remember the memories of four years ago and personally how disappointed I was and everyone was when we lost that series. That's in the back of my mind. As a kid growing up you want to win Ashes series and that's what we always talk about."

There was evidence of Hughes' gathering mental strength in India of all places, where he emerged from a nightmarish first two Tests to make a fighting 69 in Mohali then a battling 45 in Delhi. Those innings don't sound like much, but they showed rare persistence on a generally dysfunctional tour, and caught the approving eye of the Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland, among others. Hughes will need to repeat the trick over the next two weeks if he is to keep his Test spot.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • HowdyRowdy on June 19, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    Hughes first class average is 44: certainly good, but it doesn't indicate that he's the once in a generation player some people were foolish enough to suggest. Averages 33 in more than twenty Tests, which simply isn't good enough for a top order player.

    Looks like a fellow with a brilliant eye, but a fundamentally loose technique, which will always be exposed by high class Test bowlers.

    In a sense, Hughes' failure to come to grips with Test cricket confirms (again) that Test matches are the ultimate examination of a player's ability and mental toughness, and that good first class players don't always succeed in Tests.

  • on June 19, 2013, 9:48 GMT

    Hughes reminds me of a young Steve Waugh. Fast hands through the ball and absolutely crushes it through point and cover. Before the 1989 ashes the same questions were being asked of waughs technique and ability at the top level and he made 177 and 152 in the first two tests (his first of many hundreds). Hughes can score heavily when in form and I really hope he can replicate waughs 89 series to a degree because I love watching this guy bat when he gets going.

  • DylanBrah on June 18, 2013, 16:33 GMT

    Phil Hughes has played 95 FC matches already at the age of 24, and is a proven player at domestic level. But his poor technique does not hold up at Test level against quality bowling attacks in foreign conditions (England, India). Phil will never be a Test quality batsmen unless he improves his technique. As Phil himself said, age is on his side, but unless he is willing to improve that technique of his, he will find himself dropping in and out of the side over the years to come. He is also quite mentally weak in my opinion. The way he batted against Chris Martin in those Tests in 2011 showed as much poor mental strength as technique. That should improve naturally with age. Perhaps it will all come together for Hughes in the future, but right now, I don't think he should be playing international cricket. Sorry for my inability to put a cohesive paragraph together - it's 2:30am and I'm tired!

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on June 20, 2013, 13:50 GMT

    England fans can't wait to see Hughes play again, because they know within half an hour at least the the score book will read 'Hughes c Prior b Anderson' for only around 15 or so runs. It's so predictable. It beggars belief he is the Australian number 3 and the only player considered good enough. As has been the case for every other Ashes in living memory, England have, and are still, outclassing Australia in Skill, Fitness, and basically 'every facet of the game' (as Ponting and Clarke had to concede many a match before). This time round however, Australia go into the Ashes in the middle of a desperate streak, with huge cracks in the squad, leadership and discipline problems, and look off the field as big a shambles as they do on it. England meanwhile, are just training hard, and winning well in the Champions Trophy. The gulf between these two Ashes rivals continues to remain massive.

  • Mandini on June 20, 2013, 11:06 GMT

    In his last 41 test innings Hughes has averaged 27.55, not anywhere near good enough for a test 'batsman'. He is the shining beacon of the lack of judgement in our current selection panel. His selection may just be the indicator that CA no longer has it's focus on test cricket.

  • Macker60 on June 20, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    Oh how short our memory's are, If I am not mistaken didn't Hughes Dominate in the English County last Season, And Corrected his Batting issues at the Same time, All in Swing conditions with the Duke Balls. I think he may surprise a few this series, along with 2 other batsmen who are performing in county cricket, Add Clarke to the Mix and with 4 fast bowls the Worse Being Watson, We may surprise England.

  • smudgeon on June 20, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    I'm going to suggest my ideal starting XI Ashes (in batting order): Siddle, Rogers, Cosgrove, David Boon, Steve Waugh, Clarke, David Bowie, Siddle (to shore up the middle-order), James Pattinson, Jackson Bird, Peter Brock. Should see us right through to Old Trafford. Then I might rest Brockie and bring in Ryan Harris.

  • landl47 on June 20, 2013, 3:00 GMT

    @Jono Makim: Yes, I do think that's the way Hughes will bat in test cricket, because after his first two games it's the way he has always batted in test cricket. England has owned him in the 5 tests he has played against them. As I said in my comment, I thought his technique had improved, but he was back to doing the same thing- playing cross-batted without moving his feet. Whatever the target or the format, if you play like that, you get out.

    @Mitty2: quoting the FC averages of bowlers who have basically only played in Australian domestic cricket is irrelevant, because Australia has no top-class batsmen. Since the bunch in the test side are reckoned to be the best, how bad are the others? Aus fans keep plugging journeymen like Ferguson, Doolan, Shaun Marsh as test players- guys in their late twenties with FC averages in the 30s. Yes, it's just a bad patch and things will get better, but right now Aus has real problems with batting, which is why Hughes keeps getting picked.

  • ScottStevo on June 19, 2013, 20:24 GMT

    @JobeWatson, I have no clue why, but I think Hughes will score runs in this series too. Absolutely no idea how I get to that conclusion, but I've already got a sneaky score lined up for that wager! @Hammond, and Cook was a walking wicket on a fishing frenzy against Australia and was on the verge of being dropped before some uber flat decks in Oz kick started his remarkable comeback. Fair play to the bloke, but he's proof that even those that look all at sea can get it together...

  • on June 19, 2013, 14:23 GMT

    One look at Hughes batting and you wonder how he made it to the international level. The fact that he piles up runs at domestic level with this kind of a technique and mental fragility reflects poorly on the quality of Shield level bowlers than on Hughes' talent. And the fact that Australia cannot even replace him reflects on a cupboard that is not just bare, but even the paint has been scraped off.

  • HowdyRowdy on June 19, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    Hughes first class average is 44: certainly good, but it doesn't indicate that he's the once in a generation player some people were foolish enough to suggest. Averages 33 in more than twenty Tests, which simply isn't good enough for a top order player.

    Looks like a fellow with a brilliant eye, but a fundamentally loose technique, which will always be exposed by high class Test bowlers.

    In a sense, Hughes' failure to come to grips with Test cricket confirms (again) that Test matches are the ultimate examination of a player's ability and mental toughness, and that good first class players don't always succeed in Tests.

  • on June 19, 2013, 9:48 GMT

    Hughes reminds me of a young Steve Waugh. Fast hands through the ball and absolutely crushes it through point and cover. Before the 1989 ashes the same questions were being asked of waughs technique and ability at the top level and he made 177 and 152 in the first two tests (his first of many hundreds). Hughes can score heavily when in form and I really hope he can replicate waughs 89 series to a degree because I love watching this guy bat when he gets going.

  • DylanBrah on June 18, 2013, 16:33 GMT

    Phil Hughes has played 95 FC matches already at the age of 24, and is a proven player at domestic level. But his poor technique does not hold up at Test level against quality bowling attacks in foreign conditions (England, India). Phil will never be a Test quality batsmen unless he improves his technique. As Phil himself said, age is on his side, but unless he is willing to improve that technique of his, he will find himself dropping in and out of the side over the years to come. He is also quite mentally weak in my opinion. The way he batted against Chris Martin in those Tests in 2011 showed as much poor mental strength as technique. That should improve naturally with age. Perhaps it will all come together for Hughes in the future, but right now, I don't think he should be playing international cricket. Sorry for my inability to put a cohesive paragraph together - it's 2:30am and I'm tired!

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on June 20, 2013, 13:50 GMT

    England fans can't wait to see Hughes play again, because they know within half an hour at least the the score book will read 'Hughes c Prior b Anderson' for only around 15 or so runs. It's so predictable. It beggars belief he is the Australian number 3 and the only player considered good enough. As has been the case for every other Ashes in living memory, England have, and are still, outclassing Australia in Skill, Fitness, and basically 'every facet of the game' (as Ponting and Clarke had to concede many a match before). This time round however, Australia go into the Ashes in the middle of a desperate streak, with huge cracks in the squad, leadership and discipline problems, and look off the field as big a shambles as they do on it. England meanwhile, are just training hard, and winning well in the Champions Trophy. The gulf between these two Ashes rivals continues to remain massive.

  • Mandini on June 20, 2013, 11:06 GMT

    In his last 41 test innings Hughes has averaged 27.55, not anywhere near good enough for a test 'batsman'. He is the shining beacon of the lack of judgement in our current selection panel. His selection may just be the indicator that CA no longer has it's focus on test cricket.

  • Macker60 on June 20, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    Oh how short our memory's are, If I am not mistaken didn't Hughes Dominate in the English County last Season, And Corrected his Batting issues at the Same time, All in Swing conditions with the Duke Balls. I think he may surprise a few this series, along with 2 other batsmen who are performing in county cricket, Add Clarke to the Mix and with 4 fast bowls the Worse Being Watson, We may surprise England.

  • smudgeon on June 20, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    I'm going to suggest my ideal starting XI Ashes (in batting order): Siddle, Rogers, Cosgrove, David Boon, Steve Waugh, Clarke, David Bowie, Siddle (to shore up the middle-order), James Pattinson, Jackson Bird, Peter Brock. Should see us right through to Old Trafford. Then I might rest Brockie and bring in Ryan Harris.

  • landl47 on June 20, 2013, 3:00 GMT

    @Jono Makim: Yes, I do think that's the way Hughes will bat in test cricket, because after his first two games it's the way he has always batted in test cricket. England has owned him in the 5 tests he has played against them. As I said in my comment, I thought his technique had improved, but he was back to doing the same thing- playing cross-batted without moving his feet. Whatever the target or the format, if you play like that, you get out.

    @Mitty2: quoting the FC averages of bowlers who have basically only played in Australian domestic cricket is irrelevant, because Australia has no top-class batsmen. Since the bunch in the test side are reckoned to be the best, how bad are the others? Aus fans keep plugging journeymen like Ferguson, Doolan, Shaun Marsh as test players- guys in their late twenties with FC averages in the 30s. Yes, it's just a bad patch and things will get better, but right now Aus has real problems with batting, which is why Hughes keeps getting picked.

  • ScottStevo on June 19, 2013, 20:24 GMT

    @JobeWatson, I have no clue why, but I think Hughes will score runs in this series too. Absolutely no idea how I get to that conclusion, but I've already got a sneaky score lined up for that wager! @Hammond, and Cook was a walking wicket on a fishing frenzy against Australia and was on the verge of being dropped before some uber flat decks in Oz kick started his remarkable comeback. Fair play to the bloke, but he's proof that even those that look all at sea can get it together...

  • on June 19, 2013, 14:23 GMT

    One look at Hughes batting and you wonder how he made it to the international level. The fact that he piles up runs at domestic level with this kind of a technique and mental fragility reflects poorly on the quality of Shield level bowlers than on Hughes' talent. And the fact that Australia cannot even replace him reflects on a cupboard that is not just bare, but even the paint has been scraped off.

  • spindizzy on June 19, 2013, 12:49 GMT

    Nice to see the NSW cheer squad out in force. I'd suggest that we should use batting medians instead of averages (means). The mean is a notoriously poor statistical method and the only reason for using it is tradition, it's plainly misleading. I'd be curious to see how Hughes' median score stacks up. From my memory he seems to make the odd big score and a load of small ones, the mean makes this look a lot more effective than it is for actually winning matches.

  • Shaggy076 on June 19, 2013, 11:53 GMT

    Wow three one day games which included a run-out and an attempt to chase 250 runs at 10 runs and over. Time for some cool heads, the form line or game format is barely consistent with test match cricket. Good move to give him a hit for Australia A. Has been the most dominant domestic cricketer for some time had a great Australian summer, then played on bunson burner tracks and a few one-day games and everyone wants to right him off. Give me a break.

  • Hammond on June 19, 2013, 11:44 GMT

    Hughes doesn't need more time in the middle, he needs a new technique. Him and Usman square up and are LBW and nicking candidates from way back..

  • Harmony111 on June 19, 2013, 10:42 GMT

    Is it just me or are there others too who sometimes fail to distinguish between Phil Hughes & Shaun Marsh? Both of them have similar stories, perhaps similar records too and are in and out of the team and each time it happens people talk a lot about them. I don't even remember their faces so won't be able to identify them if they were shown to me. Some people say they are hugely talented, sometime they do play well but both of them seem to have the tendency of failing to build further. Look at it this way, if both Marsh & Hughes can improve a bit then Aus will get two solid, talented batsmen in the middle order but a things currently are, they both seem to be walking wickets.

  • JobeWatson on June 19, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    Hughes is a gun. I think he will be our best bat this tour.

  • smudgeon on June 19, 2013, 10:16 GMT

    Hughes has so much talent and potential, but I wonder how long he can be treated with kid gloves before they have to cut him loose and let him work it all out in his own way. Shielded from the Saffas (this still makes me kind of angry), now shoe-horned into a touring Aus A outfit (which already has it's own squad of Ashes contenders). I know they want to give him opportunity, I'm just a little tired of him being afforded all this press and seemingly special treatment when the kid just needs to go away and figure it out for himself - whether it takes a year, ten years, or never. Maybe I'm the one making a big deal out of this? Crikey...

  • Mitty2 on June 19, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    People saying that the bowlers at state level are "mediocre" because of Hughes scoring well is an absolute joke. Please take a look at the FC averages of Butterworth, bird, Faulkner, Agar, SOK, Sayers, Cutting, Mcdermott and Sandhu and try to say that again. And regardless, just exactly how many technically perfect batsman are there currently?

    Hughes is obviously a very good batsman who for most definitely, as is pretty much true for everybody, confidence is key. As Brettig rightly says " confidence is more critical to Hughes' chances of success than most", and it is definitely not the talent and ability, it is the mind state/mental capacity. If he gets that right he will become a star. But, as seen with the dismal record of one particular prima donna in Shane Watson, talent most certainly does not mean success.

    It would be a great (and idealistic) story for Hughes to have a great series and defy all, but right now you simply can't see it happening. He needs some BIG warm up games.

  • Playfair on June 19, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    Hughes is a walking wicket. Im not sure what the CA selectors see in this guy, surely there must be other players who better than him ..

  • Babu22 on June 19, 2013, 7:59 GMT

    To those who say that Phil Hughes is not test level, I just want to point out that in the domestic competition he has been scoring heavily over the last few years. The guy has over 20 FC centuries at the age of 24 (incl. 2 in one test against SAF). He can't be all that bad. If he's not Test level, by extension, it implies that the Shield bowlers have not been that great. Looking at the bowlers Aus. have got in the last 5 years, the statement that Aus. bowlers are bad is definitely *not* true. What has happened, IMHO, is that since he came into Intl. cricket, too many people have played with his technique and the resultant low scores have shattered his confidence. I think the best way is for the people to just leave him alone and let him be. He will do wonders. + one good thing with him is that he tries to give his best all the time, unlike a few in the team. If you talk about batting technique, you need not look farther than Graeme Smith. Technique is only one part of the equation.

  • mehulmatrix on June 19, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    I agree with Jacob. Why can't they recall some older players back to bring in stability? So how does Hughes average so high in FC recently? So is the bowling becoming mediocre in Aus? His technique seems more suited to play lateral shots rather then straight bat play. Mentally also he seems to be pretty fragile. Still wonder how can he get such confidence and long run as compared to other players in past.

  • Rahul_78 on June 19, 2013, 7:29 GMT

    Wow, If Australia is hoping to look at this guy to bat at no 3 or 4 where ones batsmen like Ponting and Waugh used to bat then they are in for big trouble. Hughes attempt to use practice games before the ASHES to get back in form sounds feeble and weak. You dont go into big series like ASHES searching for form in the practice games. England has a world class attack and in English conditions the Anderson and co will be queuing to bowl at Hughes. His struggle against Ashwin in India is well known and Swann is no less of a spin bowler then Ashwin neither will be Anderson, Broad and Finn any easier to score off. For someone whos technic is questionable Hughes doesnt exactly come across a man with nerves of steal. One wonders his selection in the squad ahead of the likes of Voges, Bailey and Khwaja.

  • Haiphong on June 19, 2013, 6:32 GMT

    @JonoMakim - Hughes' batting techinque in the CT included French cuts!!! So, if he applies himself correctly to the format, can we expect him to bat "as well" as he did in the TESTS in India?

  • on June 19, 2013, 5:56 GMT

    Hughes is a proven failure at international level, and unless he modifies his technique, nothing is going to change. Sure, he may score a century sooner or later, but what will that do, just give him license to fail for the next five tests? If the selectors can draught Ahmed into the squad, why can't they draught Katich, who has been scoring good runs in county cricket, so knows the British conditions (as does Rogers), is a proven success at international level, and would be a far better option than Hughes.

  • on June 19, 2013, 5:29 GMT

    @Landl47, do you really think Hughes is going to bat the way he did against SL in test match cricket? A steepling target that requires 8+ per over means that all shots are in play and you just hope to pull them off!

    I seriously do not see how Hughes' CT form comes into the argument here, we criticise the selectors very often for format confusion and yet we the fans are seemingly just as guilty!

  • Sanj747 on June 19, 2013, 5:24 GMT

    Unfortunately not upto it as history has shown. How many times do the selectors need history to repeat itself. Was shown up in India and protected against SAF. Says it all. Will struggle against England. Another poor selection.

  • Haiphong on June 19, 2013, 4:45 GMT

    "A paltry return of 57 runs in five limited-overs innings on this England tour so far has not enhanced Hughes' claims to a spot in the Australian top order for the Test matches to come, particularly when they are added to his poor record against England - 154 runs at 17.11 in five Tests spread across the past two series - and a dire recent tour of India." Yes, keep him in. And keep giving extra attention to Warner as well. And, above all, make sure the likes of Khawaja, Rogers, etc. don't get a break. The story of the Ashes is becoming as predictable as that of the tour to India!

  • landl47 on June 19, 2013, 4:09 GMT

    I've been a supporter of Hughes, but he doesn't seem to know himself how he wants to bat. There were some improvements in his technique when batting against Sri Lanka in Aus, but he was back to his worst in the CT. The way he got out against SL in the last match was EXACTLY the way he kept getting out to Chris Martin in the infamous 'ct. Guptill b.Martin' fiasco. England will pitch the ball up to him and push it across him and if he doesn't get his feet moving, he'll be caught behind or in the slips every time.

    All those who say that because he's made runs at domestic level he's bound to make them at international level, remember these two names: Ramprakash and Hick. 114 and 136 FC centuries, FC averages of 53 and 52, 35000 and 41000 FC runs- and their test averages were 27 and 31. Some players just can't cut it at international level. I hope for his sake Hughes isn't one of them.

  • Flemo_Gilly on June 19, 2013, 3:49 GMT

    After a dissapointing India series and a poor champions tropy he is on his last legs, i hope Hughes comes through but the signs are not good.

  • Mad_Hamish on June 19, 2013, 1:57 GMT

    Hughes' batting has 2 main technical issues. Firstly he very rarely plays straight, if you check the wagon wheels of his innings against SL last Aus summer there were very few runs between mid-off and mid-on (admittedly some of that is due to where the bowlers are pitching the ball but watching him he was looking to hit straight balls fairly square). That makes him very vulnerable when the ball is moving. Secondly too often he's slashing at the ball while wildly off-balance. It's not uncommon to see him cutting with both feet off the ground.

  • hmmmmm... on June 19, 2013, 0:27 GMT

    What is it with filling the team with swing and hope players, of warner, watson, hughes, quinney....? Of those watson is the only ones with any hint of technique but seems to lack the mindset to select when to attack and when to work it. I hope rogers shows this group of former "openers" who should really be number 6/7 batsmen how you open, build and then press on...it is all about combination of good technique, concentration and ability to judge the situation - none of these guys seem to have that consistently! I think cowan will also be much more comfortable playing with rogers and will finally start to convert his 70's into hundreds on a more regular basis. Australia's biggest problem since teh last ashes has been being 3 or 4 down for not much - this is the fault of teh top 4. For the first test a balanced batting lineup might be: rogers/cowan opening, khawajia at 3, bailey(?) at 4, clark in his favourite position of 5, watson, haddin and then bowlers.

  • on June 18, 2013, 23:04 GMT

    @DylanBrah, sorry mate could not disagree with you more. We're probably both in the position of being arm chair critics, and from here I'd be on your side that Phil's technique looks quite ordinary. However, his first class record is phenomenal (as you pointed out) and so to say he doesn't have the technique for the highest level is a comment that can't really be made from the arm chair. I'd remind you that he has performed against the best bowling attack - twin hundreds against south africa including hitting mr steyn back over his head for 6 to bring up his hundred. How we easily forget. I'd agree that from here, when he's bad he looks real bad. But I couldn't name 6 aussie batsman who should play in the top six (based on form or proof at international level) that wouldn't include Phil's name.

  • Ozcricketwriter on June 18, 2013, 22:57 GMT

    Phil Hughes was rightly selected in the team in 2008 and rightly dropped in 2009. He should have remained on the outer since then, but instead he was brought back in spite of not improving on several occasions, and retained in spite of doing badly. Sure, he has the occasional good score but it is all about technique. Unless he does something like Steve Waugh did when Waugh famously dropped the hook shot, Phil Hughes should not play test cricket - or ODIs or T20s either. At best, they could use him like Sri Lanka use Ajantha Mendis - as a surprise against weak teams that haven't figured him out. Hughes is no match for quality bowling attacks and England are the team that have figured him out the best. He should not be playing in the Ashes.

  • on June 18, 2013, 22:55 GMT

    He will be fine - he is only 24. Damien Martyn, Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden and even Michael Clarke for a time went through a tough patch early in their careers. And for all those worrying about his technique, they don't ask how you got them, just how many you got.

  • cloudmess on June 18, 2013, 22:06 GMT

    Keep him in the side! I'm sure Jimmy Anderson is terrified at the thought of bowling to him this summer on seaming English wickets.

  • Ms.Cricket on June 18, 2013, 21:42 GMT

    Phil Hughes is simply not international class. In international cricket, some of the worst batting pictures have been of Phil Hughes batting.

  • on June 18, 2013, 20:53 GMT

    I have always described Hughes as a poor man's Sehwag. They both have good eyes but not the technique to back it up when the going gets tough. While Sehwag has managed to carve out a very successful career, Hughes has messed around changing his technique and doubting his ability. CA have not helped his cause either shielding him from the touring South Africans and only reintroducing him against the pop gun attack of Sri Lanka where of course he scored some runs. In my opinion a year of batting on the flattest wicket in Australia was not enough to justify a recall and I predict a very painful ashes agaist the like of Anderson

  • Biggus on June 18, 2013, 20:15 GMT

    I have to feel some sympathy for Phil Hughes, having burst onto the scene as a ridiculously talented youth and having subsequently had his technical weaknesses exposed at the top level, but I'm not really sure what's best for him at the moment, either to go back to domestic cricket and work on his game or continue to try to sort it out in the glare of the international competition. At only 24 there is still plenty of time for him to turn things around but it will be hard to do so within a team that is itself struggling and thus leaving him having to carry a great burden of expectation. Like the girl with the curls in the old ditty, when he's good he's very, very good, but when he's bad he's horrid, and he's been horrid during the CT. I think he's going to find things very tough during the Ashes and I hope that doesn't destroy what is left of his self belief.

  • Jaffa79 on June 18, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    Hughes wafts like a fisherman casting his rod. Such a unique technique only works for someone with outstanding talent and Hughes does not possess that. Correct me if I am wrong but he struggles against real pace, seamers that crampt him for room, seamers that move it away from him and has looked all at sea against quality spin. Seems like a nice bloke but surely that technique cannot have longevity at this level?

  • segga-express on June 18, 2013, 18:52 GMT

    There is a serious issue with pricing for county games. I attended 2 group matches of the Champions Trophy, yet the combined price is still cheaper than turning up on the day for 1 day of the tour match between Gloucestershire and Australia A. It is ludicrous that it is cheaper to see 2 full internationals than a county side play a visiting A team.

  • 200ondebut on June 18, 2013, 18:10 GMT

    Hughes is always going to struggle at the highest level. Like Warner he is not technically strong and fairly simple to work out. Confidence will only take him so far - he needs to get technically better to perform well over a long period. Remember the saying "form is temporary - class in permanent". Hughes unfortunately is not a class player.

  • blink182alex on June 18, 2013, 18:08 GMT

    He is a run machine in domestic cricket in all forms and i believe that in 5 years time he will be a proven international batsmen with the numbers to prove it but at the moment he needs to sort his head out for good. This is not the first time we have heard about Hughes talking about trying to rebuild confidence etc, sure everyone has bad form where they lose confidence but this is a consistent trait of Hughes. You would never hear Hayden, Ponting, Cook, Chanderpaul, Amla continually talk about their lack of confidence and they've all had bad trots with the bat in test cricket.

    It seems every test match that he plays he is trying to prove he can play at this level.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on June 18, 2013, 18:05 GMT

    Once embarrassingly labelled 'The Next Bradman' by some, Hughes is skill-less, hopeless and useless on anything other than the flat decks of Oz. Having been found out and got out time and time again by England's bowlers since 2009, even on the flat decks of the 2010/11 series he was totally inept against the champion caliber of the English pace attack. Given what we've all just witness in the CT, the smart money is on Phil Hughes simply being himself this summer.

  • Raghzzz on June 18, 2013, 17:50 GMT

    People with poorer techniques than Phil have played test cricket and with good success. Guess he needs to repair his mind. Though easier said than done, don't worry about place in the side, Go out and play the Game and enjoy it. You are gonna crack the code.

  • Matt. on June 18, 2013, 17:46 GMT

    It does seem that his nerves have a big influence on how successful he is (more than most). There was a visible improvement in his game in India...after the series was lost. Unfortunately that doesn't bode well for the ashes, there is no bigger scene, and everyone will feel the nerves. It seems that you need to invest in Hughes for two or three years before you'll see him master his nerves and become consistent at an international level...but are we/selectors willing to invest that much time? You just can't replicate international pressure at a domestic level

  • on June 18, 2013, 17:23 GMT

    Hughes has not disgraced himself for Australia, but his homemade technique has not quite cut it at Test level. He is too much of an off-side player and his stance makes it difficult for him to play off his pads in as efficient a manner as the likes of Andrew Strauss or Shikhar Dhawan. He also needs to improve his manner of rotating the strike against spinners, in particular, otherwise Graeme Swann will suffocate him like the Indian bowlers did. He has struggled badly in Ashes Tests so far so now is the time to step up and prove himself at the highest standard.

  • shillingsworth on June 18, 2013, 16:34 GMT

    @khansaheb - Good points but bear in mind Hughes has played a fair amount of county cricket already, representing Middlesex, Worcestershire and Hampshire. He did well for Middlesex but wasn't a great success at the other two. If he has another poor Ashes series, I can't see counties queueing up to sign him.

  • on June 18, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    Still my no.1 pick at no.3 and to be honest I'd have to see him do a lot wrong before I dropped him. Quite simply his stats at FC level say he is the batsman of his generation. The number of tons he has racked up at such a young age and at such a strong ratio to innings played tells me that he is just going to start piling on the runs at some point or another. We have to keep asking ourselves where the likes of Hayden, Katich, Hussey and Langer were at, at similar points in their respective careers to put it in some perspective. The answer is that they had stacks of talent but were still working on putting it all together.

    I liked the look of Hughes in the tests against SL, he looked good against India too until the spinners came on! I hope he gets a couple of those flourishing cover drives away early on in the first test, if so it may just be the last time we question the merits of having Hughes in the team.

  • Narbavi on June 18, 2013, 16:26 GMT

    He has done well in england in the past for his county, that experience will come in handy when he takes guard for Australia in the Ashes, i think he will do well!!

  • khansaheb on June 18, 2013, 16:01 GMT

    First of all phillip ughes needs to improve his technique as a cricketer...if he does that he can be successfull all over the globe....yeah having confidence as a cricketer is paramount...but still with no technique you cant score runs on difficult tracks which is expected in england and that too against a quality bowling line up....he can improve by playing tons of cricket in county cricket and if does that he will come out as a very good cricketer...

  • Surajdon9 on June 18, 2013, 15:53 GMT

    hope he will improved soon

  • Surajdon9 on June 18, 2013, 15:53 GMT

    hope he will improved soon

  • khansaheb on June 18, 2013, 16:01 GMT

    First of all phillip ughes needs to improve his technique as a cricketer...if he does that he can be successfull all over the globe....yeah having confidence as a cricketer is paramount...but still with no technique you cant score runs on difficult tracks which is expected in england and that too against a quality bowling line up....he can improve by playing tons of cricket in county cricket and if does that he will come out as a very good cricketer...

  • Narbavi on June 18, 2013, 16:26 GMT

    He has done well in england in the past for his county, that experience will come in handy when he takes guard for Australia in the Ashes, i think he will do well!!

  • on June 18, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    Still my no.1 pick at no.3 and to be honest I'd have to see him do a lot wrong before I dropped him. Quite simply his stats at FC level say he is the batsman of his generation. The number of tons he has racked up at such a young age and at such a strong ratio to innings played tells me that he is just going to start piling on the runs at some point or another. We have to keep asking ourselves where the likes of Hayden, Katich, Hussey and Langer were at, at similar points in their respective careers to put it in some perspective. The answer is that they had stacks of talent but were still working on putting it all together.

    I liked the look of Hughes in the tests against SL, he looked good against India too until the spinners came on! I hope he gets a couple of those flourishing cover drives away early on in the first test, if so it may just be the last time we question the merits of having Hughes in the team.

  • shillingsworth on June 18, 2013, 16:34 GMT

    @khansaheb - Good points but bear in mind Hughes has played a fair amount of county cricket already, representing Middlesex, Worcestershire and Hampshire. He did well for Middlesex but wasn't a great success at the other two. If he has another poor Ashes series, I can't see counties queueing up to sign him.

  • on June 18, 2013, 17:23 GMT

    Hughes has not disgraced himself for Australia, but his homemade technique has not quite cut it at Test level. He is too much of an off-side player and his stance makes it difficult for him to play off his pads in as efficient a manner as the likes of Andrew Strauss or Shikhar Dhawan. He also needs to improve his manner of rotating the strike against spinners, in particular, otherwise Graeme Swann will suffocate him like the Indian bowlers did. He has struggled badly in Ashes Tests so far so now is the time to step up and prove himself at the highest standard.

  • Matt. on June 18, 2013, 17:46 GMT

    It does seem that his nerves have a big influence on how successful he is (more than most). There was a visible improvement in his game in India...after the series was lost. Unfortunately that doesn't bode well for the ashes, there is no bigger scene, and everyone will feel the nerves. It seems that you need to invest in Hughes for two or three years before you'll see him master his nerves and become consistent at an international level...but are we/selectors willing to invest that much time? You just can't replicate international pressure at a domestic level

  • Raghzzz on June 18, 2013, 17:50 GMT

    People with poorer techniques than Phil have played test cricket and with good success. Guess he needs to repair his mind. Though easier said than done, don't worry about place in the side, Go out and play the Game and enjoy it. You are gonna crack the code.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on June 18, 2013, 18:05 GMT

    Once embarrassingly labelled 'The Next Bradman' by some, Hughes is skill-less, hopeless and useless on anything other than the flat decks of Oz. Having been found out and got out time and time again by England's bowlers since 2009, even on the flat decks of the 2010/11 series he was totally inept against the champion caliber of the English pace attack. Given what we've all just witness in the CT, the smart money is on Phil Hughes simply being himself this summer.

  • blink182alex on June 18, 2013, 18:08 GMT

    He is a run machine in domestic cricket in all forms and i believe that in 5 years time he will be a proven international batsmen with the numbers to prove it but at the moment he needs to sort his head out for good. This is not the first time we have heard about Hughes talking about trying to rebuild confidence etc, sure everyone has bad form where they lose confidence but this is a consistent trait of Hughes. You would never hear Hayden, Ponting, Cook, Chanderpaul, Amla continually talk about their lack of confidence and they've all had bad trots with the bat in test cricket.

    It seems every test match that he plays he is trying to prove he can play at this level.