November 23, 2017

Langer backs Hughes to fire against England

Australian cricket fans will be hoping Phillip Hughes will be raising his bat in Perth - preferably after scoring a double ton.

Australia batting coach Justin Langer is backing Phillip Hughes to produce runs under pressure against England in the third Ashes cricket Test starting in Perth next week.

Hughes has been brough into the Australian team as a replacement for the injured Simon Katich.

England in the unaccustomed position of favourites have been quick to heap up the pressure on Hughes. England captain Andrew Strauss said after the tourists’ victory in Adelaide that the 22-year-old still had ”weaknesses that we can exploit”.

Langer retorted that ”I will back him over any other player in Australian cricket.”

Hughes was dropped from the Test side during last year’s Ashes series because England’s bowlers had successfully exposed his discomfort to short balls into his body, which restricted his ability to play his favourite cut shot.

Langer said ”It’s fine for them to say they have these plans for [Hughes] but they’ve still got to execute them.”

At least this is a story about a cricketer who is actually going to play in the test match. All the speculation this week over Shane Warne possibly playing some part in the Ashes series is ludicrous.

He is not fit, and certainly not match fit. Maybe if it were a Twenty20 game but not a five day test match under the baking Western Australian sun.

Australia needs to show some courage under fire here and back their players. Warne started his test career with lousy figures. Xavier Doherty and a whole bunch of his predecessors have not been given the opportunity to work their way into the side.

The players Australia are using at the moment are the best they have. They need to front up and fight not scratch around for excuses.

England are beatable. They will be very confident going into the Perth test, but Stuart Broad is a big loss and James Anderson might be jet lagged after his baby watching trip back to the UK.

If England drop a notch and Australia get something close to their usual game going then it will be all on.