Melbourne, Aug.16 (ANI): Former Australian all-rounder Michael Bevan has warned discarded opener Phillip Hughes not to succumb to the "paralysis by analysis" that cut short his Test career in the 1990s.
Bevan knows what Hughes is going through, having been dropped during the 1997 Ashes series in England because of similar perceptions. He returned for a match six months later but was branded inept against the high-bouncing delivery and didn't play another Test.
"The short ball became something I focused on too much - that included time I spent practicing how to play it and listening to what people thought of my ability against it," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Bevan, as saying.
"It took up too much of my effort, whether that was putting a lot of pressure on myself to play it perfectly, or worrying about what people were thinking about it or commenting on it," he added.
"By the end of my career I worked out that I didn't have a technical problem at all. It was a mental thing. The factors that stopped me scoring more runs in Test cricket were that I put too much pressure on myself to play the short ball perfectly, didn't allow myself to get out to it and I worried too much what people thought. The problem was that I didn't get another opportunity in Test cricket after the age of 27," Bevan said.
Bevan said Hughes must work out how he wants to play the short ball, what technique to settle on, how to choose the right balls to strike and how to genuinely feel confident at the crease.
Bevan's Test demise angered former NSW coach Steve Rixon.
According to Rixon, a brilliant batsman was banished because of his supposed weakness, and yet Rixon watched Bevan pummel short-pitched bowling around Australia for years to come.
"Well, I've seen a lot of very good batsmen, and I'd say that Michael Bevan was one of the best hookers of the ball I have ever seen. When he was playing for NSW, he would smash anything short as well as anyone I ever witnessed," Rixon said.
Rixon said he was "extremely disappointed" with the reasons given for Hughes's omission after the Lord's Test.
"The reality is Phil has scored a couple of Test centuries already," he said.
"One minute he's being bandied as the next Bradman and the next minute he's out of the side. I don't think that's a great way to treat a young cricketer," he added.
"The fact that other people have been dropped before and come back stronger is not even a remotely fair argument," he said.
NSW selector Brian Taber said he too was mystified at Hughes's axing but compared it to the omission of his former teammate Doug Walters after four Tests of 1972 Ashes series.
"I think that in the way Doug used that solid country temperament to work his way back into the side, Phil will do the same thing," Taber said. (ANI)