Hughes still on hold
Australia opener Phil Hughes will not return to Test cricket until he starts plundering the runs in domestic cricket.
Last Updated: 19/11/09 6:27pm
Australia opener Phil Hughes has assured he has a Test future, but also warned he will not return to international cricket until he starts plundering the runs in domestic cricket.
Hughes exploded onto the international scene in South Africa, but was brought back down to earth with a bump in England when he was dropped during Australia's Ashes defeat.
Shane Watson was brought in as a makeshift opener and he has retained his place alongside Simon Katich as the Aussies named their side for the first Test against the West Indies.
Selector Andrew Hilditch has assured Hughes he still has a big future in Test cricket, but he insisted he would not get the Baggy Green back on until he has scored plenty of runs for New South Wales.
The young left-hander will now be trying to fill his boots in domestic cricket Down Under in order to revive his five-Test career.
"I've made no secret of the fact I think he's going to be a very exciting player in Australian cricket," Hilditch said.
"We were looking for a bit more form in Shield cricket before he came back into the Test side.
"We've been watching that very carefully. He's a great young kid and obviously has proved he can play at international level, so we're just going to continue to monitor his form and we still see him as very much part of our future."
Watson has a modest overall Test average of 27.6, but scored three half-centuries as a makeshift opener during the last three games of the Ashes series.
Although there is a slight worry that Watson did not go on to make a big score, he is still feeling his way into the opener's role, and Hilditch has backed him to come good.
"We all want batsmen to go on (to score hundreds)," he said. "I'm sure it's an issue he's getting on top of. He's still making his way in Test cricket."
"He'll be looking to improve that. Every time a batsman gets a start and doesn't go on, it hurts the side."
Mike Hussey's final Test century at the Oval sees him retain his Test place, while his form during the ODIs in India last month also helped him stay in the squad.
"We don't change the side unless we're confident we can improve it," Hilditch said. "Michael Hussey scored a hundred in his last Test.
"He averages 50-plus and he's in good nick as far as we can tell. He deserves to be in the side and I think he'll play very well."