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Runs hold key to struggling Hughes: Clarke

June 29, 2012, 1:14 PM IST
Runs hold key to struggling Hughes: Clarke

London: Australia captain Michael Clarke said weight of runs, rather than where they were made, would be the central factor in whether opening batsman Phillip Hughes returned to the Test team.

Hughes, currently playing for English county side Worcestershire, announced on Thursday he would be leaving New South Wales to join rival state South Australia on a three-year deal.

"I wish him well," said Clarke, speaking at Lord's on Thursday ahead of Friday's first one-day international against England at the 'home of cricket'.

"The most important thing for Hughes is to make as many runs as he can.

"I don't think it matters where you play, it's about scoring runs and trying to get picked for Australia and I'm pretty sure that's what Hughes's attitude will be," added Clarke, himself a New South Wales batsman.

"He'll go to South Australia and I'm very confident he will perform well to try and be re-selected for Australia. It's a good opportunity for him to be knocking on the door with the amount of runs he scores."

Hughes, 23, has played 17 Tests for Australia averaging 34.58 with three centuries and was the youngest player to score back-to-back hundreds in the same match, in his second Test against South Africa in Durban in 2009.

But he hasn't played Test cricket for Australia since being dismissed for four and 20 against New Zealand at Hobart in December, a match where he twice edged seamer Chris Martin to Martin Guptill at slip, the culmination of a series of similar dismissals that led to questions about the left-hander's technique.

Hughes, who missed out on a central contract with Cricket Australia last week said he was looking for a fresh beginning with South Australia.

"The next two years are the most critical in my cricket career and I'm not going to leave any stone unturned to make sure I put myself back into content_cnion to play again for Australia," Hughes said in a statement.

"Missing a CA contract this year is not the end of the world. In fact, in lots of ways it's a new beginning."

Hughes said the opportunity to play for Worcestershire in recent months had given him the chance to refine his skills and passion for the game.

"The organisation, their support of me and my ability to focus a hundred per cent on my game has been a real eye opener and my form with the bat has obviously benefited from it," he said.

"That's what I expect the move to Adelaide to also do for me, and I can't wait to get there and settle in."

Hughes has a long history of success at Adelaide Oval, having made 475 runs in his three most recent Sheffield Shield visits to South Australia, including scores of 198 and 192.

Cricket World Cup Points Table

9 7 1 1 15 +0.80
9 7 2 0 14 +0.86
9 6 3 0 12 +1.15
9 5 3 1 11 +0.17
9 5 3 1 11 -0.43
9 3 4 2 8 -0.91
9 3 5 1 7 -0.03
9 3 5 1 7 -0.41
9 2 6 1 5 -0.22
9 0 9 0 0 -1.32

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
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