Phil Hughes has said it would be a melancholy duty replacing his idol Ricky Ponting in the Australian Test team if he is given a chance by the national selectors against Sri Lanka.
Hughes, who has scored 518 Sheffield Shield runs at 51.80 in five matches this season, received his baggy green from Ponting in Johannesburg in 2009 and is a leading contender to replace the retiring 168-Test legend in Australia's first Test against Sri Lanka in Hobart from December 14.
"Playing against Sri Lanka would be great but the bottom line is it is down to the selectors. It is out of my hands," News.com.au quoted Hughes, as saying.
"The most pleasing thing is I have been scoring runs in both forms. It is out of my hands. I know my next game is on Sunday week for the Adelaide Strikers in Perth and that is what I am preparing for," he added.
Hughes said he would have loved a recall in a side with Ponting still playing.
"I was extremely surprised by the announcement. The whole nation wants him to finish with a bang and get a big score this Test," Hughes said.
"Ricky presented me my baggy green in Johannesburg and that was a moment I will never forget," he added.
Hughes knows what a roller coaster ride Test cricket can be with three Tests tons and as many demotions, but he admits Ponting passed on lessons of resilience to last a career.
"Before my first series Justin Langer called me and said do him a favour and just look at the way Ricky conducts himself and his work ethic and intensity around the group," recalled Hughes.
"I always had my ear open around him. He is an absolute legend of a person and player. They are little things I have in the back of my mind and will never forget. When he speaks, people listen," he added.