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If Aaron Finch fails again in Adelaide, New South Wales’ left-handed opening batsman Daniel Hughes yesterday gave the national selectors some ammunition.
The 29-year-old cracked an unbeaten 105 against South Australia at the SCG, his second Sheffield Shield century this season in scoring 433 runs at an average of 48.11.
Hughes has been knocking on the door for the last two seasons with 543 runs at 36.20 in 2016-2017, with a century, and four half-centuries.
He was more comprehensive last season with 661 at 43.31 without a century, but four half-centuries with a top score of 98*.
Hughes has taken over the running from Queenslanders Joe Burns, and Matt Renshaw, who have both worn the baggy green but been dropped – in Burns’ case unfairly.
National selectors have proved over the years once they drop a player he has to do something very special over a long period to be reinstated.
Yesterday was the opposite for both Burns and Renshaw in scoring just 18 and 14 respectively, while Hughes posted that impressive unbeaten ton.
Selection is all about timing, and consistency.
The selectors could well take the latter into account when Hughes’ name comes up for consideration.
In his 11 Shield digs this season, Hughes has made two tons – 116 and 105* – a 78, and a 60, but in the other seven visits to the crease he hasn’t reached 25.
Compare those stats with Marcus Harris making his Test debut in Adelaide.
Harris has batted eight times for the Vics this Shield season for an unbeaten 250 against NSW, plus 67, 65, 62 – with the other four visits netting 26, 22, 7, and 2 – for an average of 71.57.
But selectors also took into account his previous two Shield seasons of averaging 42.52, and 41.52, so he thoroughly deserves to be in Adelaide, and hopefully the start of a long career as an international.
Whether Daniel Hughes gets his chance against India this summer will depend on Aaron Finch as Australia sets out to save this first Test.
There are two days play remaining with India in control, could this be a repeat of the first Test against Pakistan in Dubai that ended with the Australians forcing an honourable draw?