Lismore hit-out just the ticket for Hughes

EXCITING young Australian and NSW opening batsman Phillip Hughes is from Macksville, so we can almost claim him as one of our own when the SpeedBlitz Blues arrive in Lismore on Monday for the Festival of Cricket.

The Blues will take on Victoria in the opening one-day match at Oakes Oval on Tuesday and Hughes should feel right at home.

Hughes, 20, was asked about the prospect of playing in Lismore at a media conference with fellow NSW team-mate and Ashes tourist Stuart Clark in Sydney yesterday.

“It's out in the country, it's only three-and-half-hours down the road (from Macksville) and it's great,” Hughes said.

“We'll be there for 10 days so all the guys will mingle in. I know all the guys here have been training hard and it's good to get out in the centre to bat and bowl in the middle wicket.”

NSW is using the series of one-day and Twenty20 matches in Lismore to prepare for the Airtel Champions League Twenty20 tournament in India starting on October 8.

Hughes is looking to have a good hit-out in Lismore and in India to make up for the disappointment of being dropped after the Second Ashes Test.

“It (the Ashes) was a great experience,” he said. “Obviously it was disappointing to get dropped when I did but at the end of the day that was what was best for the side and the selectors said that and that's what happens.”

Returning to NSW training for the first time in the pre-season, Hughes said he was keen to reclaim the Test opening spot now filled by new Blues team-mate Shane Watson.

“I've played five Tests, but I'd love to be there in the Australian summer,” he said.

“But for now I'm here with the NSW guys and I'm going to enjoy my time and just really want to go out and get runs.“

He also wants to press his claims for a regular spot in Australia's Twenty20 team.

“I like all forms of cricket. We have seen Twenty20 come in so strong over the past couple of years but obviously Test cricket, I have a taste of that.

“But all three forms, I love playing for NSW and hopefully I can continue that.”

As for the prospect of becoming a 'free agent' and picking up high-priced contracts overseas, Hughes was a little more circumspect.

“No, look, I am happy how I am. I love all three forms of the game, but the pinnacle in my eyes is, for sure, Test cricket,” he said.

Following his time in England, Hughes enjoyed the privilege of catching up with Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar.

“We had a great chat - it was really more a casual chat and just chilling,” Hughes said.

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