Why Phil Hughes should not be dropped

It has been suggested that Phil Hughes will be ‘rotated’ out of the Australian XI for the second test at Hobart. If there is a change it will almost certainly be either Hughes or the equally out of form Hussey to make way for all-rounder Daniel Christian. Hussey has already expressed unease at the prospect of rotation and has counselled Hughes not to change his game. Hussey appears to be worried he will be the one to miss out in a rotation policy and is trying to make sure it’s Hughes instead.

I hope it isn’t Hughes to go, however, I like having Hughes in the Australian side. A look at his career statistics and history shows why. His first class form is very impressive, but in tests overall he averages 36.13 with three centuries and three fifties. That’s six times he’s gone past fifty in thirty innings. Hughes’ career is based almost entirely on the second test of his career, in which he scored 115 and 160 against South Africa in Durban. It was only a decent series apart from that. He scored nought and 75 in his first test and 33 and 32 in the last test of the series before going to England for the 2009 Ashes. He fared poorly against shorter bowling in England and was dropped for the third test. (And announced it himself, on Twitter.) He was dropped to give him a chance to work on his technique, but he never really improved. He had one-off tests against Pakistan and New Zealand after the 2009 Ashes, but his best score in those two matches was 86* against New Zealand. Regardless of his failure to improve, the injury and subsequent dropping of Katich during the 2010/11 Ashes gave him a more permanent place.

Since his debut tour to South Africa Phil Hughes has scored just 633 runs at an average of 27.52. His lone century in that time was against a Sri Lankan ‘attack’ at Colombo a few months ago and he has passed fifty only three times. The only time he has done so against an international quality attack was his 88 in Jo’burg last month. His technique was lacking against in England in 2009 and he has never fixed those problems. His footwork is non-existent and he can only play the short ball in the sense that he can play it in the air to gully. And this is why I want him to stay in the side. I hope the selectors continue to look at his extremely impressive domestic form and drop Hussey instead because in 2013 I want to see him walk on to the pitch at Lord’s on an overcast July morning and face Jimmy Anderson with the new ball. I really, really want to see that.

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