Phillip Hughes is one of the most polarising players in the Australian team. When he is on song, the left-handed batsman is unstoppable. However, when he isn’t making runs, Hughes’ critics are the ones who prove difficult to silence.
Hughes is undoubtedly one of the most naturally gifted cricketers this country has produced. His unorthodox style of play through the off-side has made him one of most prolific scorers in the first-class scene.
The top-order batsman started his career at the NSW Blues where he flourished from the get go. He topped off a sensational debut season with a sparkling century in the Pura Cup final against Victoria.
In a whirlwind first-class career that has seen him amass over 7,000 runs, perhaps Hughes’ greatest triumph was heading to England as a 20 year old and dominating the County scene.
In his first three games for Middlesex, Hughes scored 574 runs at an absurd average of over 140.
Hughes moved to the Redbacks at the start of the 2012/13 season, where he has enjoyed instant success.
He opened the season with a string of nineties across all competitions before finally breaking through for 158 against the Bushrangers.
Hughes was awarded the State Player of the Year at the Allan Border Medal for his 673 Bupa Sheffield Shield runs and 323 Ryobi Cup runs.
The talented batsman enjoyed a glittering start to his international career, becoming the youngest player to score centuries in each innings of a Test match.
It was never going to be easy to back up that sort of form, and Hughes learnt some tough lessons during the 2009 tour of England. The English attack repeatedly battered him with short pitched bowling to the body, and the diminutive opener struggled.
Hughes was in and out of the Test side for the next two years, as he struggled to find consistent form with the bat. Despite making a big hundred in Sri Lanka, Hughes was once again dropped for failing to handle Chris Martin during the home series with New Zealand.
However, undeniable form with the Redbacks saw Hughes reinstated in the Test side, and he hasn’t looked back since.
His improved technique allowed him to score all over the ground against the Sri Lankans in the Test series while his new found aggression saw him score a pair of centuries against them in the limited-overs series.
A tough tour of India suggests Hughes might not be entirely comfortable against spin, although he can take solace from the fact that he made handy contributions in each of the last two Tests.