Sport

Hughes fought his way back to national team for third time

Phillip Hughes
Phillip Hughes Quinn Rooney / Getty Images

RECALLED Australian top-order batsman Phil Hughes is adamant he is a different player now compared to 12 months ago.

That is not just mentally and statistically, but his wagon wheel also proves this.

Hughes was dropped from the Australian Test side 12 months ago after struggling against New Zealand's Chris Martin, constantly being caught behind the wicket.

But the 24-year-old has worked hard to force his way back into the national team for the third time, with his move to South Australia reaping instant rewards.

He has scored 332 runs from seven Sheffield Shield innings at an average of 47.43 for his newly-adopted state.

"It (wagon wheel) is a lot different," Hughes said.

"Probably 70-80 per cent of my scoring options were on the off side. So I feel now that I've got both sides of the field covered, and that was something I had to go away and work on."

Despite the string of criticism Hughes copped last summer about his wayward back foot, the former New South Wales star said this was not something he devoted a lot of attention towards fixing.

"It's actually not my feet. I'm not going to come out and say what it is, but there's one big adjustment that I have changed and a couple of little things, but it's actually not my feet," he said.

Hughes fell to Martin in last summer's second Test at Bellerive for the lowly scores of four and 20, on both occasions caught behind the wicket.

But the boy from Macksville in northern New South Wales said he doesn't hold any emotional scars about the Hobart venue.

His comeback game against Sri Lanka in tomorrow's first Test will coincidentally be held at the same venue.

"This is the ground that things probably didn't pan out perfectly on a personal note. But I've played a lot of cricket here before in Shield competition and my numbers have been okay," he said.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakarra, 35, said he and the older brigade among his side is desperate for success down under.

"As you get older, you look for achievements. We haven't really tasted victory here or in India," he said.

"That's a great motivator for guys like Mahela (Jayawardene), (Tilakaratne) Dilshan, myself and (Thilan) Samaraweera."

Topics:  cricket, phil hughes



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