Related News

Home » Sports » Cricket

Hughes' county stint a big boost: Ponting

AUSTRALIA skipper Ricky Ponting thinks opener Phillip Hughes will make England regret letting him acclimatize to local conditions ahead of the Ashes series.

The 20-year-old left-hander made his international debut in South Africa in February, failing to score in his first innings but recovering to post 75 in his next, then scoring hundreds in each innings of his second test match.

Hughes scored 415 runs at an average of 69 in three tests in South Africa before heading to England for a five-week stint with county side Middlesex.

He has since scored four centuries for Middlesex, which signed him despite opposition from senior English officials. Hughes had never previously played in England but will be confident ahead of the five-test Ashes series starting on July 8 in Cardiff.

"They might be dreading the decision to allow him to go over and play as they were right from the start," Ponting said. "But I would prefer for Phil to save a few runs up and not make them all right now, we need some for later on in the year. He is a terrific young guy and a terrific player and I am sure he will have a good Ashes campaign for us."

Prolific opener

A long-term prospect to replace prolific opener Matthew Hayden, who retired in the Australian summer, Hughes said he'd already learned a lot about the English conditions.

"The bowlers swing the ball very late over here and there are a couple of little things that I have picked up which will put me in good stead going into the Ashes series," he said in a Sydney radio interview.

Hughes will return to Australia this week for an Australian camp, with the Ashes squad to be announced today.

The biggest dilemma for selectors is which allrounders to take and which spin bowler to persevere, a problem for Australia since the retirements of Shane Warne and Stuart MacGill.

The pace bowling stocks are high, however, with the performances of Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus in the absence of injured Brett Lee and Stuart Clark giving Australia an abundance of fast bowlers.

"When we get over there the competition for spots is going to be red hot," Ponting said. "The two tour matches we have leading in are going to be exciting, it is going to be good seeing these guys going hell for leather."

Ponting will shift his attention to the opposition once his first XI is finalized, targeting England captain Andrew Strauss.

"As we all know the Australian team tries to target the captain a little bit and put the captain of opposition teams under a bit more pressure," Ponting said. "If you can do that, you can generally take another couple of the guys down with him. That is what we are trying to do."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend