AUSTRALIAN fast bowler Brett Lee has advised Worcestershire-bound Phil Hughes to ignore the critics who have slaughtered his batting technique at both international and domestic level in recent months.
Hughes, aged 23, averages a disappointing 34.58 from 17 Test matches – way below his first-class batting average of 48.03.
In November he was axed from Australia’s Test side following a poor two-Test series against New Zealand when he declared his availability to Worcestershire for the entre 2012 county season instead of just June’s domestic Twenty20 campaign.
Lee, who plays alongside Hughes for New South Wales in Australian state cricket, believes Hughes’s Worcestershire stint will help to reaffirm his confidence in his own ability.
“Sometimes when you are not playing for Australia, you learn to appreciate it a lot more when you come back instead of getting caught up in the moment,” Lee said.
“Phil is working very hard to get a recall and he’s learning to play his natural game. He’s got heaps of time to get back into the Australian side, being such a young player, and he knows that just about every player goes through a time of getting dropped.
“He needs to go to Worcester and work on his confidence.
“I’ve heard a lot about technical flaws in his batting but I don’t agree with that. Sometimes as a player you can listen to commentators, media and the general public too much; he’s just got to go to New Road, back his confidence, and score some runs.
“He was chosen to play for Australia because he’s a very good player and he’s got to focus on what got him in the Test side instead of anything negative that’s been said and written about him.”
In his only Sheffield Shield – Australia’s equivalent of the County Championship – match so far this season, Hughes scored 85 in two completed innings for New South Wales.
In his only one-day Ryobi Cup innings, he cracked 96 against South Australia in October.