Australian batsman Phil Hughes has said that he’s looking forward to putting the disappointment of the ICC Champions Trophy behind him and producing strong performances against the red ball in the lead-up to the first Ashes Test.
Hughes, along with fellow Ashes squad member Matthew Wade joined up with Australia A on Tuesday for the final match of their tour against Gloucestershire in Bristol starting on Friday.
The Ashes touring party will officially come together on Monday in Taunton, with tour matches against Somerset and Worcestershire before the first Test on July 10 at Trent Bridge.
Hughes, 24, admits he's still a few years away from fully maturing as a batsman after an inconsistent start to his international career.
Hughes' record shows he needs rhythm at the crease to avoid things collapsing in his mind and has three tour matches to get that right.
"Preparation is the key - spending as much time in the middle as possible and get runs. That's really what counts in these practice games," said Hughes.
"The older you get the better you are I think. You speak to players in the past and they sometimes say you mature about 28, 29 years of age.
"I suppose one thing for me is I've still got age on my side.
"I've been very lucky to be around the international scene for four years and I feel like I'm in a much better space than I was four years ago.
"I feel like my game has come along and also mentally come along."
Hughes found out in 2009 when he tweeted his dropping from the team mid-series that the hype around the Ashes can become overwhelming.
He was given a sobering reminder of the fish-bowl levels of scrutiny in Birmingham two weekends ago when he went out drinking with David Warner and other teammates at The Walkabout.
Hughes said he was accountable for his actions and pledged the team were getting through the crisis together.
"I put my hand up and say it wasn't the right thing to do after a loss to go out and have a few beers," he said.
"We're all in this together and we always have been."
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 19 June, 2013 10:07AM AEDT