The Ashes: Langer backing Hughes to be a hit
Australia batting coach Justin Langer has backed Phillip Hughes to make a success of his recall to the squad for the third Ashes Test.
New South Wales opener Hughes was one of four changes to the party for the match in Perth named yesterday, with fast bowler Mitchell Johnson and spinners Steve Smith and Michael Beer also included. Hughes comes in for the injured Simon Katich while WA batsman Marcus North, fast bowler Doug Bollinger and slow left-armer Xavier Doherty are the three players dropped after Australia's second-Test defeat.
Hughes made an explosive start to life in Test cricket before certain flaws were exposed by pace attacks around the world.
And England captain Andrew Strauss appeared unconcerned when told the 22-year-old had been called up after facing him earlier on the tour. He said: “We've got our plans in place for him. He's obviously worked a bit on his technique. “I think he was slightly different in that Australia A game to what we've seen previously. But there are weaknesses there that we can exploit, definitely.”
Langer believes Strauss' confidence is misplaced, responding: “I will back him over any other player in Australian cricket.
“You see something in someone every now and then, and more than anything I hope he takes this opportunity next week. I hope England keep taunting him. He is that sort of player. When he was playing to make his Test debut he was up against two established players, Chris Rogers and Phil Jaques, for a place and what did he do? He scored [151 and 82 not out for NSW against Tasmania]. When the pressure is on and he absolutely has to score runs, he does. He's a little fighter.”
Langer is confident Hughes has overcome his fallibility to the short ball. He added: “It's fine for them to say they have these plans for [Hughes] but they've still got to execute them. I remember when Phil was in South Africa and Graeme Smith came out and said he couldn't play the short ball, and they were supposed to have the best pace attack in the world and he scored consecutive hundreds against them.
“Now (Stuart) Broad has gone home, and Jimmy Anderson is coming back, we will be ready to go for them.” Within moments of the squad announcement, Hughes followed a first-innings four in New South Wales' Sheffield Shield match against South Australia in Sydney with a duck at his second attempt.