Sydney: Batsman Phil Hughes will replace injured captain Michael Clarke in next month's one-day series against Pakistan, Cricket Australia said Wednesday, giving him a chance to state his case for a Test recall. Clarke was ruled out on Tuesday after scans revealed the hamstring injury that cut short his Zimbabwe tour was worse than first thought and included tendon damage.
Hughes, 25, will take his place in the three-game series in the United Arab Emirates. "I know the guys in front of me and how well the Test side is going -- just to be that spare batter and around the squad, that has always been my plan over the last 12 months," Hughes said. "If a spot comes up I feel very ready to take it... but I'm happy to bide my time."
Hughes had already been named in the Test squad to play Pakistan and was set to travel to the UAE earlier than his teammates to work on his batting against spin with coaching consultant and Sri Lankan great Muttiah Muralitharan. The batsman, who has scored well for Australia A and South Australia, said it had been tough being in and out of the national side.
"But I understand that when I was in there, I wasn't consistent enough. Going forward it's about consistency and looking to score as many runs as possible," he said. "That is something that I have been working on and I'm probably doing it better over the last 12 months than the previous years."
The three-game one-day series against Pakistan, the last for Australia before it hosts the World Cup next year, starts on October 7 with the first of two Tests not until October 22. Cricket Australia said Tuesday it hoped Clarke, who has a history of back and hamstring trouble, would be fit to play in the first Test. If not, wicketkeeper Brad Haddin will be Test captain, coach Darren Lehmann said.
"The thing is we want our best player playing. He's been a fantastic player for us for over 100 Test matches now and we need our No.4 playing and making runs," he told cricket.com.au. "We need him back and he knows that," he said, adding that Clarke was working hard with medical experts. "All we can do is make sure that when he comes back, he's right to go." Pakistan have been forced to play their home series at neutral venues, such as the UAE, since militants attacked the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009.