Phil Hughes turns 26 today. And it is certainly a happy birthday for the young talented left-hander from New South Wales who got recalled in the national side to play against India in the high-profile series starting in Adelaide on December 4. The exquisite 163 that he scored against for South Australia against New South Wales in Sydney earlier this week helped him return to the test side after a gap of 17 months. [Phil Hughes: Cricket is back in its puristic form]
Eager to prove himself again
Hughes's last test appearance was against England at the Lord's in July last year and it was a disastrous outing for the young batsmen who could manage just 1 in each innings as Australia was beaten by a massive 347 runs by their arch-rivals.
The man who scored centuries in both innings of his second test
However, that looks a distant past now for the 163 that he scored in Sheffield Series for a winning cause has convinced the selectors that he has a lot to offer to his side. This is the sixth comeback for the left-hander to the national side within a span of 26 tests but one shouldn't forget that not long ago, it was the same batsman who had scored centuries in both innings of his second test.
Century in one-day international debut
In one-day cricket, too, Hughes became the first Australian batsman to score a century in his debut match in January 2013 against Sri Lanka. For a country which is going through a transition after a generation of giants retired, Phil Hughes is certainly one of its big hopes for the future.
Hope for an Australian team which is undergoing transition
Hughes's 163 was not special because it brought him back to the side, it also showed that the batsman has learnt a lot in terms of his temperament. His innings was a gritty one for he stood there on a pitch that threw a lot of challenge and wasn't unsettled by the fall of wickets on the other side. He did the opener's job by holding the innings together and ensured that the team total reached a respectable position from where it was difficult to lose.
Hughes is the youngest Australian test centurion after Doug Walters
After the exit of Matthew Haydens and Justin Langers, a mature Hughes will assure Australia as an opening batsman for days ahead. The Indians will have to make a special plan this summer to contain this batsman who has returned to form with a bang.
Will 2015 WC be Hughes's?
The next World Cup could also be Hughes's. A veteran of just 25 matches, Hughes averages 52 on his home soil (35.91 overall) and that could be an indicator of how good he is on those green tops Down Under and how much the opponent has to worry to stop him from running away with the game at the mega event.
A lot to do for Phil Hughes and he is no muck with the bat.
[This article is Oneindia's tribute to Phil Hughes, the talented Australian batsman who passed away in the hospital after being hit by a bouncer during a domestic match in Sydney. Hughes left his teammates and fans in tears on November 27, just three days before his 27th birthday. We express our grief while remembering the man on his birthday]