Australia drop Hughes and Khawaja

December 21, 2011
Phil Hughes


Today’s big news coming out of Australia is that Ricky Ponting has held onto his place in the Australian Test squad, but young batsmen Phillip Hughes and Usman Khawaja have been dropped for the Boxing Day Test match at the MCG.

The selectors have named a 13 man squad that includes fit again Shaun Marsh, un capped opener Ed Cowan, and former seamer Ben Hilfenhaus. There is also a place for all-rounder Dan Christian who was 12th man for the Test match in Hobart, where Australia were defeated by New Zealand.

It didn’t come as a great surprise that Hughes has been removed from the top of the Australian order. In recent times his technique has not stood up to the challengers that opening the batting in Test cricket presents. He consistently plays away from his body bringing the slips into play. New Zealand opening bowler Chris Martin exposed this weakness in his game in the recent series held in Australia.

Khawaja has looked more at home in the Test arena then Hughes this year, but he has been unable to capitalise on the starts he has made. In his six Test matches Khawaja has scored 263 runs at an average of 29.22. These stats are not good enough to justify batting Khawaja at number 3.

Despite Ponting also suffering similar statistics in 2011, Coach Mickey Arthur is hoping that the former Australian captain returns to form. He said: “To be honest, I still think Ricky still has a little bit left in him. He’s still fit enough, providing he’s scoring runs, to play a role in that Ashes series in 2013 – but the balls in his court”

Boxing Day will be the start of what is a four match Test series with the touring Indians.

Australia squad in full: Michael Clarke (capt), Ed Cowan, David Warner, Shaun Marsh, Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey, Daniel Christian, Brad Haddin (wk), Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Ben Hilfenhaus.

Chris Murtagh 21/12/2011

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