Oz selectors watching NSW batting prodigy Hughes closely

January 29th, 2009 - 12:15 pm ICT by ANI  

Canberra, Jan.29 (ANI): Australian cricket selector Jamie Cox flew last night from Adelaide to Canberra a distance of 1600 kilometers to assess whether New South Wales batting prodigy Phillip Hughes is good enough for the Test team.
According to The Age, Cox has revealed that Hughes and fellow Blues opener Phil Jaques could both earn selection for the tour of South Africa.
“(Hughes) is heading down the right path, scoring a lot of runs is the one currency that is very hard to ignore, it is the one true pathway. There could well be positions for both (Hughes and Jaques),” Cox was quoted, as saying.
Cox will see which of the two, or both will make the final squad during the match between New South Wales and the Prime Minister’’s XI match that is to be played at the Manuka Oval. He will drive to Newcastle for NSW’’s Sheffield Shield clash against Tasmania.
Australia’’s touring squad is to be announced after that match.
Hughes, 20, said: “I don”t want to look too far ahead, I like to keep it very simple. I just want to take it as another game. There has been a fair bit of talk in the last couple of weeks (about Test selection) but I don”t want to think too much about it.”
Cox said Hughes has the chance to kick-start a lengthy international career.
“(South Africa) is one of the toughest tours, but it could set up a wonderful career, and the same can be said for the Ashes later this year,” he said.
“They are the two most important tours we have coming up I will be keeping a close eye on all the players (in Canberra and Newcastle) and if we feel that Phil has the game we would pick him.”
Jaques, who returned from a three-month lay-off following a back operation at the weekend and made five runs in a grade game, will open with Hughes in Newcastle.
While his last Test innings was a century in the West Indies and his Test average is 47.47, Cox said proof of fitness alone could not guarantee Jaques” return to the national side.
It’’s believed selectors will name a 14-man touring party. Eight players would be guaranteed selection if fit: Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Simon Katich, Michael Hussey, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Stuart Clark and Peter Siddle.
That leaves six spots for a host of players including Andrew Symonds, who will tour if Cricket Australia determines he is capable of handling the responsibilities after discussions with his psychologists relating to off-field issues.
If not, Andrew McDonald is likely to retain his spot as an all-rounder. There is a three-way battle between spinners Bryce McGain, Nathan Hauritz and Jason Krejza. (ANI)

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