Marsh likely to get picked over Hughes, says Brad Haddin

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“Hughesy was in pretty good form in the trial game the other day but Shaun was picked on the original tour”

Australia wicketkeeper and vice-captain Brad Haddin has revealed that batsman Shaun Marsh is likely to get picked over Phillip Hughes for the first Test against South Africa in Centurion since he was part of the original squad.

Marsh had to pull out of the tour with a calf injury, but was asked to fly to South Africa after all-rounder Shane Watson’s calf injury took a turn for the worse.

“If it’s whoever gets here first we’re going to have state players trying to get their own flight over here before everyone else,” Haddin said. “Hughesy was in pretty good form in the trial game the other day but Shaun was picked on the original tour.

“Shaun’s probably getting to the age where it’s his last crack. He seems more settled in him game. What I’ve seen during the one-day series he seems pretty comfortable with where he was at. It’s no better arena to test himself against these blokes to see how far he has come in his game.”

The other option Australia are considering is including all-rounder Moises Henriques in the Test squad, but Haddin believes that is highly unlikely to happen since the national team already have a sufficient bowling attack, which is comprised of Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon.

“They’ve done that during the summer,” Haddin said. “Watto didn’t bowl that much during the summer in all honesty. I think the bowlers are pretty conditioned to that, and also this is a three Test series not a five Test series so they won’t be holding anything back and they won’t be holding anything back, whatever we decide to go with, and even Warner bowled a few overs the other day so you never know…”

While Haddin admitted that it felt great to score some runs against England in the recent Ashes series, he added that it was now time for the national team to direct all their attention towards defeating the top Test team in the world.

“I felt as comfortable as I have for a long time,” he said. “I was just enjoying the whole series.

“It was a massive series to be part of an Ashes campaign and I enjoyed it but this is another challenge. These guys are number one in the world and they’ve got a pretty handy attack so it’s going to be a different kettle of fish so I’m looking forward to that.

“I’m always trying to look at ways to improve and simplify my game. I always said if I stop trying to challenge myself to be a better player I’ll call it a day. I’m still enjoying the challenge to be the best cricketer I can and I’m really looking forward to having a crack at this series. It’s going to be a cracker, there’s going to be nowhere to hide, so it’s going to be a great series all-round.”

Haddin added that Australia’s top order batsmen need to have more of an impact during this series than they did against England, especially since South Africa’s batting line-up is full of veterans.

“We’ve got make sure we recognise the big moments and when the big moments do arrive we jump on them,” Haddin said. “Whether that’s getting through a tough hour with the ball, bowling some maidens for a session, or taking the game by the scruff of the neck and moving it forward. We’ve just got to recognise what the game needs.

“You’ve always got to look to improve. We can’t just rest on what we’ve done against England. Yes, that was exciting but now it’s a totally different beast we’re trying to tame here. I’d like to keep scoring two hundreds per Test as it averaged out in Australia but obviously we need to get first innings runs. That’s one of the areas we need to improve on. That’s no secret to anyone.”

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