Hughes ready for cricket comeback
Time spent at the family banana farm might not have borne fruit for Phil Hughes’ game but it has helped clear the dumped Test opener’s mind as he again negotiates the comeback path.
And how Hughes must have been longing to be back at his tiny NSW hometown of Macksville as he finetuned his controversial batting technique ahead of an English county stint with Worcestershire.
Before flying out next week for the second half of the 2012 county season, Hughes, 23, spent time at Brisbane’s Centre of Excellence (COE) – and was immediately in the sights of quicks Mitchell Johnson and Pat Cummins.
The pair were also sharpening their skills at the COE ahead of next month’s Australian one-day tour of England – much to Hughes’ horror.
“To have Mitch Johnson and Pat Cummins bowling full tilt at you – it’s been a huge challenge,” Hughes said in Brisbane on Wednesday.
“It’s been quite intense.
“But it’s been great training with those guys for the last few days.
“(Overall) the last six weeks, I have done a fair bit of work. It’s been a couple of hours a day – day in, day out.
“There’s a couple of things I had to work on and had to nail them down before I went to England so it’s been a fair amount of time spent in the nets.”
Critics might have said Hughes needed all the practice he could get after he averaged 10.25 in a two-Test series against New Zealand last summer, prompting another unceremonious dumping.
In an indication of how lowly Hughes ranks in the pecking order, the big-hitting left-hander missed out on the Australia A squad that will visit England in July and August.
It would be enough to discourage most cricketers – but Hughes appeared ready for the challenge after rediscovering his bush roots.
“I had a couple of weeks off, went back and caught up with my family and mates back home, spent a bit of time with dad out on the farm,” he said.
“It was just totally different to playing cricket. Just to relax my mind and get back was great.”
Hughes will hope history repeats when he takes the crease for Worcestershire – he enjoyed a prolific spell with Middlesex before the 2009 Ashes.
“Now I am just looking forward to playing for Worcestershire in three forms of the game,” he said.
“Hopefully, I can go out there, enjoy myself and get as many runs as possible.”© AAP 2013