Ticking all the boxes
WHILE the Australian cricket world is talking up the chances of Phillip Hughes' elevation to the Test team, the young man himself is busily walking the walk rather than talking the talk.
On Tuesday night, the Macksville-raised Hughes was again putting his fine talents on display, this time with a half-century in a rain-interrupted clash against Western Australia.
The diminutive left-hander remained unbeaten on 53 to continue a purple patch of form that has many tipping the 20-year-old for national selection in the near future.
Having spent Christmas Eve and yesterday with family in Macksville, Hughes will be striding back out to the wicket tonight at the GABBA where the NSW team will be taking on Queensland in a KFC Twenty20 Big Bash clash.
For Hughes, that's all that matters - the next game. Unaffected by all the talk of higher honours, the quietly spoken opener says that playing for NSW is all that he's worrying about.
“Obviously been talk and all of the other stuff but I don't want to look too far ahead to be honest,” he said on Wednesday.
“I just want to worry about the next game. We've got Twenty20 coming up through January so we've got a busy month ahead and I just want to keep enjoying playing for New South Wales.”
Hughes has now made 635 runs at an average of 63.5 in the current Sheffield Shield season, making him the third highest run scorer in the country.
He says that all the success came from a platform of hard work that he built during the off-season.
“I did a lot of hard training and spent a lot of time with the guys as I knew about the 'second year blues' and I didn't want that to happen,” he said.
“I wanted to come out this year and try and make a point. You hear a lot of the hype about guys who have a good first year but not so good in their second year.
“I wanted to actually improve on the year before and it's all going to plan so far.”
A Shield century last week against South Australia was full of class while his effort of making 201 runs out of the 345 run total by his team showed that Hughes is capable of scoring under trying conditions as well.
With veteran Test opener Matthew Hayden struggling for form at the moment, Hughes finds himself being grouped with Chris Rogers, Michael Klinger and Shaun Marsh when discussions turn to a possible replacement if Hayden's run drought continues.
If a sudden call-up comes or a tour spot for the Ashes is given, you can guarantee Hughes will be ready.
Age: 20 years 26 days
Born and raised in Macksville.
• Youngest player to score a century in a Sheffield Shield Final.
• When Hughes reached 1000 first-class runs, he was younger than when Don Bradman achieved the same feat.
16 matches 28 inns 3 not outs
1337 runs at 53.48.
Made 9 50s and 4 100s.
One-day Domestic Record
17 matches 17 inns 3 not outs
507 runs at 36.21.
Strike-rate: 68.05. Made 4 50s.