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Hussey urges Hughes to back himself

AFP
Dec 05, 2011 at 03:21pm IST

Brisbane: Mike Hussey on Monday urged besieged opener Phillip Hughes to back his natural game after being retained in Australia's Test squad. Despite failing with just ten and seven runs in the first Gabba Test, Hughes looks set to get another chance in the second Test against New Zealand, starting on Friday in Hobart.

Australia's selection panel on Monday made just one injury-enforced change to their 12-man squad from the first Test with the inclusion of Dan Christian. Christian replaces 12th man Ben Cutting (side strain) which means a batsman would make way if the South Australian allrounder was chosen to make his Test debut.

Hughes has passed 36 just twice in his past 17 Test innings and with allrounder Shane Watson (hamstring) and Shaun Marsh (back) on track to return from injuries in the Boxing Day Test against India, the opener's Test position appears vulnerable.

Mike Hussey urges Hughes to back himself

Mike Hussey urged besieged opener Phillip Hughes to back his natural game.

His six-ball failure on Sunday as Australia romped to a nine-wicket win, highlighted the New South Wales left-hander's technical weakness as his average has dived from 69 after three Tests in 2009 to 36.

Hughes was dropped fifth ball at second slip off Chris Martin before cutting the next ball to gully where he was caught by Martin Guptill.

But Hussey said he doesn't believe the 23-year-old opener should be singled out for continuing an unhappy knack of falling to catches behind the wicket.

"I just think it's important for him to keep a real clear mind and to keep playing his way," Hussey told reporters.

"He's had success playing his way. He's still put together some really good scores for us in difficult conditions in Sri Lanka (126) and South Africa (88). He works extremely hard and he knows the areas he needs to work on.

"Obviously, he'd want to get some more consistent scores but it is tough work against the new ball opening the batting."

While Watson and Marsh have been given extra time to recover, Australia are also keeping teenage pace sensation Patrick Cummins (heel) in cotton wool ahead of the four-Test India series. Cummins, man of the match on his debut against South Africa in Johannesburg last month, is one of five pacemen sidelined along with Ryan Harris (hip), Mitchell Johnson (foot surgery), Doug Bollinger (hamstring) and Cutting.

In their absence, James Pattinson gave a man-of-the-match performance at the Gabba, taking 5-27 to rout the Black Caps for 150 in their second innings.

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