|Player:||PJ Hughes, JL Langer|
|Event:||Australia in South Africa 2008/09|
DateLine: 16th February 2009
Rookie Phillip Hughes, who is all set to make his debut in South Africa, has sought tips from one of Australia's all-time best openers Justin Langer to prepare himself for the tough assignment ahead. The 20-year-old New South Wales opener had approached Langer on the eve of the team's departure to guide him on how to tackle the fiery South African bowling attack in the upcoming series beginning February 26.
Langer, however, warned Hughes of possible challenges, both physical as well as verbal, that he might face in the series. Langer said Hughes is very inquisitive to gather knowledge. He also informed that he had received an e-mail from Hughes 18 months ago asking him on ways to improve his batting.
"I remember my debut against the West Indies in 1993 in Adelaide, and while the likes of Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose were relentless, Phillip will come up against a similar pace attack in South Africa that is riding high with confidence. But I'm very confident he'll do well in this series and for a long time to come."
Former Australia pacer Mike Whitney also echoed similar feelings and said the Proteas were very much similar to the Aussies as both prefer to play tough cricket.
"I played with a lot of South Africans in the UK and they're a very tough breed. They're very similar to Australians given they like a beer, barbecue and their sport. They're tough to beat on their own dungheap and they'll be giving Phil everything they can. They're not short on the lip either," said Whitney who spoke with Hughes over the weekend.
He, however, said although the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel would try their level best to dismantle Hughes with short stuff together with verbal assaults, the young left-hander has plenty of experienced teammates around him to seek guidance.
"But Phil will go all right, he's got the right guys around him and if he gets settled early and gets some runs, he could be an absolute joy to watch.
"I spoke with him Saturday night (at the Steve Waugh Foundation) and told him to not change a thing. Once you reach Test cricket the game is 95 per cent in your head," said Whitney.