Where to now for Phil Hughes?

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December 10, 2011 by dixwah

Day One: Australia is 1/12 in theri first innings after New Zealand was dismissed for 150

Australian opener Phillip Hughes seems consigned to another stint on the Sheffield Shield scrapheap following another failure in an action packed first day at Bellerive yesterday.

Hughes is out of touch and his technique has been exploited by modest seamer Chris Martin, a sure fire sign that the baggy grim reaper is asking for your address.

What is undoubted is that Hughes has the ability to succeed at this level. Technique-schmechnique, when you’ve notched 17 first-class hundreds before your 23rd birthday, including twin hundreds in your second Test against the feared South African attack, there’s something there.

But Hughes’ preferred scoring arc behind point has now become his kryptonite.

In an Australian batting line-up constantly underachieving, his three snicks this series have everyone talking about the same gawky technique that have belted the best domestic bowlers in Australia for fun.

Presuming Australia consolidate the bowling effort on day one and gain a considerable first-innings lead (an optimistic presumption on recent form), Hughes may not have another chance to impress the new selection panel.

Hughes should still be a work in progress. It’s forseeable that he still has a decade left in his professional career. But after being dropped already in his young career, and then belting enough runs to demand re-selection, what can the leftie gain from again being sent back to the suburbs and belting attacks over and over again.

Even as a Hughes fan, I don’t think his key performances in the recent away tours warrant his selection anymore. More to the point, persisting with a player so down on confidence and out-of-sorts can only further hurt his development.

The Test cricket wagon is not the place to repair a technical flaw, temporary or permanent.

Without a big second-innings knock, the best thing for Hughes is to slog around in the Big Bash, work on straightening up defensively and then pulverise the locals for the rest of the season.

To be picked for Australia, you should be the most outstanding candidate when a spot becomes available. On that channel, I don’t know who’s the right man to come in. But Hughes will get his chance (again).

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