Steve Larkin June 29, 2012
Test discard Phil Hughes says quitting NSW to join chronic under-achievers South Australia is the first move in the most critical years of his cricket career.
The 17-Test batsman will play for the Redbacks for the next three years, hoping the switch to the batting-friendly Adelaide Oval will prompt an Australian recall.
''The next two years are the most critical in my cricket career,'' Hughes said in a statement yesterday.
''And I'm not going to leave any stone unturned to make sure I put myself back into contention to play again for Australia.''
The 23-year-old, currently playing English county cricket, was last week overlooked for a Cricket Australia (CA) contract.
But he said the snub could rejuvenate his career, which stalled when dumped from the Test side in December last year.
''Missing a CA contract this year is not the end of the world. In fact, in lots of ways it's a new beginning,'' he said.
Hughes' axing from the Australian side after a lean trot against New Zealand was the second time he was dropped from the Test team.
The first was in England in July 2009 when told of his omission by then-selector Jamie Cox - ironically, the Redbacks' cricket director.
''You develop bonds in funny ways,'' Cox said. ''I had a very strong connection to selecting Phil in the first place … and I unfortunately had the job of knocking on his door to say 'sorry mate, we're not playing you'.
''We have had a pretty good connection irrespective of that.''
South African Johan Botha has replaced Michael Klinger as captain. SA hasn't won a Sheffield Shield game since November 2010, an unsuccessful streak of 16 matches. AAP