Leave Hughes out of the Ashes

nick richardson Roar Guru

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    Phil Hughes: 1988-2014. (AAP Image/Chris Crerar)

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    Australia has a tendency to play openers in positions unfamiliar to them and this trend looks set to continue, with Phil Hughes one of five openers named in the Ashes squad.

    This needs to be reconsidered but if Australia are going to continue this trend, their batsmen need to find a way to make the transfer from top to middle order more successful.

    As this needed transformation will not be made by the upcoming Ashes, two openers need to be dropped, with one batting at six due to a shortage in specialist batsman.

    One surefire player to be dropped in my eyes is Phil Hughes. Hughes has been a successful shield batsman, but has done nothing at Test level since his breakout series in South Africa.

    Hughes will be found out in England, as he has been by every decent pace attack he has faced. Hughes will be tested with short and top of off bowling and will crack as he has before.

    Hughes is still young and has plenty of time to improve his technique. He can do that in the shield, but until he has shown improved technical and mental strength he should not have a place in the Australian Test team.

    Hughes has not proved himself enough at Test level to earn a spot in the Ashes team.

    My top order for the first Test is:

    Chris Rogers and Ed Cowan opening. These two have been playing county cricket and this makes them very selectable.

    Usman Khawaja needs to bat three because he is the best in Australia’s ranks capable of play there.

    Michael Clarke has got to move up the order to four and coach Darren Lehmann thinks the same way.

    Steve Smith proved that he has matured and is ready to play for Australia and should bat five.

    This leaves one of the openers to play at number six because of a lack of specialist batsmen picked. Shane Watson is the best to fill this spot. He will play as the fourth seamer and plays better against an older, slower ball.

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    The Crowd Says (127)

    • June 28th 2013 @ 2:46am
      Frankie Hughes said | June 28th 2013 @ 2:46am | ! Report

      Talking rubbish.

      Cowan is rubbish. The sooner people realise that the better.

      Watson will open with Rogers.

      Hughes and Khawaja at 3 or 5. Either way round makes no difference.

      Pup 4.

      • June 28th 2013 @ 8:31am
        Praveen said | June 28th 2013 @ 8:31am | ! Report

        Good article, I would have Clarke at 4, khawaja at 3 as he is our best 3 but I would be tempted to replace Cowan with Hughes depending on they go jn the ashes

      • June 28th 2013 @ 8:32am
        cuzza said | June 28th 2013 @ 8:32am | ! Report

        you are related i assume?

        • June 28th 2013 @ 8:52am
          Frankie Hughes said | June 28th 2013 @ 8:52am | ! Report

          You’d think so, but no.

    • June 28th 2013 @ 6:15am
      Janmel said | June 28th 2013 @ 6:15am | ! Report


    • June 28th 2013 @ 7:10am
      Nudge said | June 28th 2013 @ 7:10am | ! Report

      Watson Cowan Rogers Clarke Hughes Warner. Hughes by default. Starting to worry about khawaja. He’s now had 5 or 6 hits in england and passed 30 once. Hughes has had 3 hits and passed 40 twice. Can’t see how khawaja passes him. I think Hughes will go on to a big score tonight which would be good. We then will have 4 locks in the top 6 with some good form behind them. For me clarke Watson Rogers Hughes are in with Warner Cowan and khawaja fighting for other 2 spots.

      • Roar Guru

        June 28th 2013 @ 8:19am
        nick richardson said | June 28th 2013 @ 8:19am | ! Report

        Hughes’s scores will decrease when he faces a decent bowling attack.
        Somerset aren’t a good county side.

        • June 28th 2013 @ 8:25am
          Frankie Hughes said | June 28th 2013 @ 8:25am | ! Report

          So what does that say about Khawaja?

          He cants even get a score against this Somerset attack…

          • June 28th 2013 @ 8:40am
            Nudge said | June 28th 2013 @ 8:40am | ! Report

            Spot on frankie

          • Roar Guru

            June 28th 2013 @ 8:47am
            nick richardson said | June 28th 2013 @ 8:47am | ! Report

            His technique won’t completely collapse Frankie.

            • June 28th 2013 @ 8:52am
              Frankie Hughes said | June 28th 2013 @ 8:52am | ! Report

              His so called superior technique isn’t doing much so far.

              Hughes is a 100s merchant if he gets in.

              Khawaja isn’t.

              • Roar Guru

                June 28th 2013 @ 10:06am
                nick richardson said | June 28th 2013 @ 10:06am | ! Report

                Hundred merchant?
                Phil Hughes is not a hundreds merchant. 3 hundreds in 24 tests.
                Pretty poor for a so-called “hundred merchant”

              • June 28th 2013 @ 10:15am
                Frankie Hughes said | June 28th 2013 @ 10:15am | ! Report

                I’m talking overall career.

                21 first class hundreds.

                As for 3 Test hundreds in 24 Tests

                That’s 3 more than Khawaja…

              • June 28th 2013 @ 10:24am
                Red Kev said | June 28th 2013 @ 10:24am | ! Report

                6 tests compared to 24 – you can’t even say he’s behind yet, he’d have to have 8 century-less tests to be behind Hughes.

              • June 28th 2013 @ 10:47am
                davos44 said | June 28th 2013 @ 10:47am | ! Report

                gimme hughes any day over khawaja…he knows how to make big scores …. and test centuries (and he’s 44 no o/night ) there are plenty of batsman with pretty techniques who don’t score runs….all you khawaja lovers you gonna be waiting a long time for your man to deliver imho…27 last night… that’s about par for him

              • Roar Guru

                June 28th 2013 @ 10:49am
                nick richardson said | June 28th 2013 @ 10:49am | ! Report

                Frankie Hughes is a good first class player. He just struggles against the smarter, better bowlers.

          • June 28th 2013 @ 10:49am
            John Edgar said | June 28th 2013 @ 10:49am | ! Report

            Don’t even get me started on Khawaja’s treatment, 12th man since the boxing day test match and should never have been dropped the first time around after the loss to NZ. The kid got 69 in a record 300 chase against South Africa in their home turf and just needs a real go. I know he needs to get runs in the warm up games, there is no denying that, but he has at least 2 more innings left to do that, if he doesn’t then all good and he will wait for his chance. But if he does and i think he will then he can be a real star for us in the ashes as he is one of the better batsman against swing and pace.

            • July 1st 2013 @ 7:41pm
              Deep Thinker said | July 1st 2013 @ 7:41pm | ! Report

              Khawaja’s performance on tour has been predictable underwhelming – as can be expected from a guy with a FC batting average in the low 40s.

          • June 28th 2013 @ 4:45pm
            Jo M said | June 28th 2013 @ 4:45pm | ! Report


      • June 28th 2013 @ 8:33am
        Praveen said | June 28th 2013 @ 8:33am | ! Report

        Give khawaja a couple of tests and he will do well. He does well against good bowling attacks, hopefully he gets runs in the second innings and and second warm up match

        • June 28th 2013 @ 8:35am
          Frankie Hughes said | June 28th 2013 @ 8:35am | ! Report

          Hughes is better than Khawaja.

          • June 28th 2013 @ 8:40am
            Felix said | June 28th 2013 @ 8:40am | ! Report

            Form is temporary, class is permanent and Hughes has neither.

            • June 28th 2013 @ 8:54am
              Frankie Hughes said | June 28th 2013 @ 8:54am | ! Report

              Yeah because 20 first class hundreds by age 24 happens by fluke

              If it did I’d be wearing the Baggy Green….

              • June 28th 2013 @ 9:05am
                Felix said | June 28th 2013 @ 9:05am | ! Report

                I’d say it’s more of a miracle than a fluke!

              • June 28th 2013 @ 9:09am
                Frankie Hughes said | June 28th 2013 @ 9:09am | ! Report

                Don’t worry you can keep doubting Phil

                But when it’s all said and done and Phil has 10,000 Test runs and 40 100s.

                Everyone will remember him

              • June 28th 2013 @ 9:10am
                Frankie Hughes said | June 28th 2013 @ 9:10am | ! Report

                Sorry DP

              • June 28th 2013 @ 9:54am
                Felix said | June 28th 2013 @ 9:54am | ! Report

                I’d love nothing more than to be proven wrong, I fear Clarke’s back is going to throw out soon and there isn’t much waiting in the wings.

              • June 28th 2013 @ 11:10am
                davos44 said | June 28th 2013 @ 11:10am | ! Report

                I rekon your spot on Frankie and I agree with you 100%….the khawaja camp are in love with a technique…. ( i’ll take the so called ugly runs )I really hope khawaja finally sorts himself out and goes on to be the batsman many think he could be..i would be happy for aus cricket …but my gut says he just hasn’t got it ….and atm hughes is a country mile ahead of him… and also he is a real fighter something the other bloke isnt

            • June 28th 2013 @ 11:18am
              Amith said | June 28th 2013 @ 11:18am | ! Report

              And Khawaja has class, we will see it this ashes.

              • Roar Guru

                June 28th 2013 @ 11:33am
                nick richardson said | June 28th 2013 @ 11:33am | ! Report

                Let’s hope so.

              • June 28th 2013 @ 2:45pm
                Nick said | June 28th 2013 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

                Khawaja is so overated. All that time he spent the sidelines has you thinking in sophisms – no one is making many runs therefore Khawaja will make a lot of runs if only he got a chance. Rubbish.
                There’s no evidence on offer that this guy has an impregnible technique. Last night on MervUK’s pancake flat pitch “he was worked over by Overton” before snicking to slip.
                Face facts, he’s a guy averaging 35 who’s never stepped up. He’s a very average international cricketer.
                So is Cowan.
                So is Hughes.
                But Hughes has more potential and a better record than all 3 and at least he has stepped up in the past and has age on his side. His record is better, that’s an actual, statistical fact.
                Gut feel is that Khawaja is better than Cowan though.

              • June 28th 2013 @ 3:44pm
                davos44 said | June 28th 2013 @ 3:44pm | ! Report

                agree with just about all that nick…not sure yet if khawaja better than cowan though

          • June 28th 2013 @ 8:41am
            John Edgar said | June 28th 2013 @ 8:41am | ! Report

            Wel said Praveen, Frankie both are good batsman, i would have both in the team but Khawja deserves a real shot, hopefully he gets a bigger score in the second innings, he is best at number 3

            • June 29th 2013 @ 3:26pm
              MervUK said | June 29th 2013 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

              Overton will be v good in the future, but is v v raw, nobody of test quality should be getting worked over at Taunton, worrying if that’s what happened to UTK. James hildreth has never been picked for england partly because he plays his home games there and it’s so small you can block it for six, so averages are considered inflated. I wasn’t surprised to see Watson score predominantly in boundaries with his strength. Khawaja seems a bit like Compton was for England, too worried about failing and getting bogged down

          • June 28th 2013 @ 10:51am
            Disco said | June 28th 2013 @ 10:51am | ! Report

            Hughes is crap against swing, seam, bounce and spin. And his running between the wickets is dreadful. Apart from that he’s good at Test level.

            • June 28th 2013 @ 11:17am
              Amith said | June 28th 2013 @ 11:17am | ! Report

              Khawaja on the other hand can handle swing bowling very well

      • June 28th 2013 @ 4:45pm
        Jo M said | June 28th 2013 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

        I like this one Nudge.

    • June 28th 2013 @ 7:28am
      Nev said | June 28th 2013 @ 7:28am | ! Report

      Boof has said Watto will open, the rest of the batting order will revolve around this.
      Rogers has made too many runs in England this summer to not be picked.
      Cowan needs runs – he has been in England all season so far and not got more than 80 (someone correct me if this is wrong).
      This is the top 3, the order is moot really. Perhaps Rogers at 3? Who would you prefer walking out in the 3rd over of a test match at 1/1?
      That top 3 is solid and is a chance of seeing off the new ball with minimal damage.
      4,5 and 6 are Clarke, Khawaja and Hughes – again the order is up in the air.
      Warner cant be picked with no cricket.
      Hughes is a stroke player and too flaky to bat against Anderson with a new ball, he has to bat at least 2nd drop. Maybe at 6, and when he fails we can bring Warner in.
      These blokes have poor recent records, but if Boof can get some confidence going, we are a chance to at least not lose these games as soon as we start batting.

      • June 28th 2013 @ 10:58am
        davos44 said | June 28th 2013 @ 10:58am | ! Report

        Ive been saying for a couple of years now… back when it was unfashionable…. that maybe opener was not hughes best spot …he is a total eye player and is fine against lesser bowling attacks …but he has a natural propensity to follow the ball and therefore he can be suspect against a new moving ball early….he has proved he can play spin semi reasonably…and he could possibly only get better at that ( he is a very determined and focused young man) I think 4 or 5 may be his best spot in test cricket

        • June 29th 2013 @ 4:30pm
          Tasman said | June 29th 2013 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

          “he has proved he can play spin semi reasonably” I wish that was the case davos44 but I feel dropping him down can expose him even more to spin. I do agree the fight is between him and Warner and he is at an advantage because he has a chance to make his mark in the first test. If he doesnt then im afraid it may be the end of him.

          • June 29th 2013 @ 4:44pm
            davos44 said | June 29th 2013 @ 4:44pm | ! Report

            I like him at 4 ..ive seen him as a test no 4 for a while…hopefully with the shine off the ball he could be devastating with attacking stroke play …agreed he is not overly solid against spin …but I see this weakness as being something he would be able to work through …if indeed he knew his spot was at 4 …I wouldn’t mess with Clarke at 5 if it aint broke don’t fix it

    • Roar Guru

      June 28th 2013 @ 8:14am
      JGK said | June 28th 2013 @ 8:14am | ! Report


    • June 28th 2013 @ 10:18am
      Red Kev said | June 28th 2013 @ 10:18am | ! Report

      I don’t understand the desire to leave Hughes out of the Ashes. Nor Khawaja for that matter.
      Regardless of their scores in the limited warm up to the Ashes they remain Australia’s two most talented batsmen under the age of 30. Quite probably Jordan Silk will surpass them but right now Hughes and Khawaja are the best we have. So what if Hughes’ technique is unorthodox, so what if Khawaja has been having trouble recently – we need them both and we need them both to fire.
      We’ve seen what Cowan has, it’s not enough.
      We haven’t seen what this incarnation of Hughes has got, and we’ve not seen what Khawaja has got because he’s not been given a chance.
      Put them both in. In fact Boof should pick six batsmen and tell them, barring a run of ducks (or an injury) you are the lineup for all five tests, let’s see what you’ve got. Watson, Rogers, Hughes/Khawaja, Clarke, Khawaja/Hughes, Smith

      • June 28th 2013 @ 10:49am
        John Edgar said | June 28th 2013 @ 10:49am | ! Report

        Well said Red Kev

      • June 28th 2013 @ 11:05am
        Hunter said | June 28th 2013 @ 11:05am | ! Report

        Here here! What about Warner though? Maybe not for the 1st test but has everyone forgotten his century against NZ and India? Perth was reminiscent of Gilchrist. Itd be interesting to see how Warner would bat at six once back in some form.

        • June 28th 2013 @ 11:40am
          Red Kev said | June 28th 2013 @ 11:40am | ! Report

          Warner is an ill-disciplined nothing player. I’d bring him back only if Hughes or Khawaja or Smith had a run of ducks or an injury.

      • June 28th 2013 @ 2:57pm
        Matt F said | June 28th 2013 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

        Now that we know Watson will open, my top 6 would be the same as yours Kev

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