Perth: Former Australian opener Justin Langer believes that current opener Phillip Hughes will come up trumps during the Ashes series that gets underway from Wednesday.
Langer has told Hughes to stick to the basics that helped him triumph over South Africa in his debut series and warned England's quicks they risk playing into the young Australian's hands if they try to pummel him with short-pitched bowling.
Langer, who is one of Hughes's closest advisers, expressed immense confidence that the 20-year-old would work out a strategy for the short stuff that is sure to come his way from the moment he steps into the Ashes cauldron at Cardiff this week, after he was twice bounced out by Steve Harmison in the tour game at Worcester.
"It's just something you've got to get used to, and it's not easy as a short left-hand batter like 'Hughesy'. You've got to get used to that bounce and work out a method to combat that, then you can find a rhythm against them," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Langer, as saying.
"The great thing about Phillip Hughes is that he's always made runs under pressure and he's always worked it out … His great strength is that he does know his game and he has the ability to make runs under pressure. He's shown that at a young age," Langer added.
"You have to be pretty precise if you're going to bowl that length to him because we've seen how hard he hits the ball through point if it's not quite right," Australian team coach Tim Nielsen said.
Langer, who sent Hughes a text message of support before the biggest series of his short career, believes the eye-catching opener has the unflappable temperament to overcome his latest challenge.
"I heard it from [South African pacemen] Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel, I heard it from [Proteas coach] Mickey Arthur, I've heard them all say it before, and he came up trumps," Langer said.
The Australians did not train in Cardiff on Sunday but Hughes is expected to face plenty of short stuff from the bowling machine in coming days, after he punched catches to gully and second slip in the tour game against the England Lions.
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