Earmarked as a replacement in Australia’s top order since his stunning debut against South Africa in 2009, where he became the youngest batsman to score centuries in both innings of a Test (20 years and 98 days), Phillip Hughes has since experienced a frustrating start to his international career.
After finishing the series with 415 runs at 67.17, the New South Welshman was dropped during the 2009 Ashes after struggling against England fast bowlers who relentlessly targeted his body with short pitch bowling. He remained back-up opener to Watson & Katich, but again struggled against England when he replaced the injured Katich for the last three Tests of the 2010 Ashes in Australia.
His international career came to a standstill when he was dismissed in similar fashion on four consecutive occasions to New Zealander Chris Martin in 2011. Hughes was forced to go back to State cricket, where he focused on learning from his valuable lessons and bettering his unconventional technique.
He spent the 2012 Australian winter in England with Worcestershire, where he dominated the T20 competition, scoring 402 runs at an incredible average of 100.5. And after a move to South Australia for the 2012/2013 season, he scored 524 first-class runs at 47.63 - headlined by his sparkling 158 against Victoria at the SCG.
Hughes returned to the Test team after the retirement of Ricky Ponting, scoring 86 in his first innings back against Sri Lanka in tough batting conditions in Hobart. He also made his ODI debut for Australia during the 2012/13 season and scored a century on debut at the MCG.
Hughes was one of many batsmen to struggle on the VB Tour of India, but made improvements as the series went on and finished the last two Test matches positively. He is expected to be one of Australia's strong performers during the UK Ashes Tour after his strong English summer last year.