Phil Hughes leaves Test talk to his bat
Phil Hughes will keep letting his bat do his talking as he presses for a Test cricket recall.
Opening batsman Hughes is putting plenty of pressure on Australian team incumbent Ed Cowan with sparkling early season form ahead of the three-Test series against world No.1 South Africa starting on November 9.
Hughes is the third-highest run-scorer in the Sheffield Shield, and only one batsman has scored more domestic one-day runs this season.
The left-hander has another chance to press his Test claims when his adopted state South Australia host Queensland in a Shield match in Adelaide from Tuesday, while Cowan needs runs for Tasmania against Victoria in their match at the MCG starting the same day.
Hughes, who cracked an unbeaten 95 against the Bulls in Sunday’s one-dayer, was axed from the Test side last December and replaced by Cowan but the early domestic form of the left-handed pair this season is in stark contrast.
In the Shield, Hughes has made 218 Shield runs at an average of 54.50; Cowan 60 runs at 20.00 – 36th on the run-scorer’s list.
In the one-day format, Hughes has scored 132 runs and been dismissed just once while Cowan made 13 in his sole appearance for Tasmania.
But Hughes was quick to deflect questions about whether Australian selectors should be taking notice of his form surge and was more concerned with helping struggling SA get their season back on track.
“I just want to score as many runs as I can for South Australia,” he said.
“I really want to be the most consistent batsman I can be and score as many runs as I can across all formats.”
Cowan appears likely to be given first chance as David Warner’s opening partner in the Test series against the Proteas, after making 55 in his most recent Test knock against the West Indies last April.
But the half-century was only the third time Cowan has passed 35 in his 12 Test innings, which have returned 358 runs at 29.83.
And Hughes, who has scored three tons and three half-centuries in his 17 Tests, maintains publicly that Tuesday’s Shield game holds more significance for SA than himself.
The Redbacks have been trounced in their opening two Shield games as their winless streak in four-day cricket extends to 18 matches – their last win was in November 2010.
A thumping innings defeat to Tasmania prompted Redbacks coach Darren Berry to publicly apologise, with Hughes saying a response against Queensland was imperative for SA.
“It has been a little bit of a tough start and we’re not hiding away from that fact,” Hughes said.
“But we know there is a lot of cricket to be played this season and come Tuesday our confidence will be high.”© AAP 2013
Listen to Glenn Mitchell's preview of the Third Ashes Test in Perth at the WACA ground:
The Roar needs an editor! Tristan is off to tackle a new role with us over on Techly.com.au, which means we're looking for someone to fill his boots. Love sport, know digital publishing (yes, that does mean being a bit of computer guru) and keen to work with the team in Newcastle? If you're a proven superstar, or someone on the rise with a record to back it up, we want to hear from you. Apply now!
We're also looking for freelance writers who know tech, gadgets, games and trends inside and out to join us on this new adventure. Get in touch if you've got the goods.