Phil Hughes withdraws from Big Bash

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 14, 2011 06:36 hrs

Out of form opener Phil Hughes has pulled out of the prestigious Big Bash T20 League starting this week in order to focus on the longer version of the game.

Hughes struggled during the recent Test series against New Zealand, being caught cheaply in the slips by Martin Guptill off Chris Martin on each occasion.  

He is almost certain to be dropped for the Boxing Day Test against India starting December 26.

Shane Watson is likely to return in his place to open with David Warner, who cemented his place by carrying his bat for an unbeaten 123 in the second Test against the Kiwis at Hobart.

India vs Australia

Hughes, who was scheduled to play for Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash, released a statement explaining his decision: "Following my performances over the last few months, I have decided that, right now, I need to be completely focus on my first-class cricket career," he said. "I'm obviously disappointed that I haven't been able to score the runs in the last few Tests that I know I am capable of and I want to do everything I can to ensure that my game continues to develop.

"I talked with Pup (captain Michael Clarke) and (coach) Mickey Arthur about it after the Hobart Test and they both supported my thinking. I then approached John Dyson (Sydney Thunder) and Pat Howard (Cricket Australia) to ensure that they would be comfortable for me to step away from my contract with the Thunder.

"Selfishly, it's the right decision for me but I'm obviously concerned that I have made this decision on the eve of the Thunder's first game. Everyone has been extremely understanding and I wish the boys all the best for a successful Big Bash season. I'm now focusing on next week's Chairman's XI game in Canberra and can't wait to face the Indian bowlers."

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