Phillip Hughes bounces back again

It’s not how hard you fall, it’s how you bounce back and respond from the fall.

Many sports people have been knocked down before and reached what they may see as the low point of their careers.

There are many athletes who have have been discarded from teams, had their contracts cut by clubs, tossed out for disciplinary reasons and just when they thought their playing days were over, a beam of light shone upon them and they were given a second chance.

The great Muhammad Ali, lost his boxing licence because he refused to be drafted into the United States Army opposing the Vietnam War and didn’t fight for several years.

Yet he returned to win the world heavyweight boxing title again after his exile; in fact he held the mantle as the greatest in his weight division, three times, in 1964, 1974 and 1978.

Ali’s biggest fights were not in the ring but outside it and he reigned supreme.

Cricketer Phillip Hughes, a player I admire for his tenacity and capacity to bounce back from being axed from the Australian Test team, is a case in point.

Hughes is 25, has played 26 Tests and he debuted in 2009 against South Africa in South Africa.

In the second test of that series, the plucky left hander, when opening the batting, made two centuries in the Durban test.

Hughes averages 32.65 in 26 tests, four times he’s been dropped, but has now returned for another opportunity as a late call up for the injured Shaun Marsh in the Test squad in South Africa. The first Test at Centurion starts next Wednesday.

He should play and bat at No.3.

The Aussie selectors and coach Darren Lehmann must be brave and pick him.

He has made a stack of runs in Sheffield Shield this summer, 549 runs at 61, you strike while the iron is hot and Hughes will be razor-keen for a fifth time lucky at this level.

It’s now or never for the boy from Macksville.

Shane Watson, who seems to have been given oxygen resuscitation so many times throughout his career, should shift to No.4, and skipper and Liverpool-born Michael Clarke moved to No.5 where he best suits the team and Steve Smith at No.6.

This gives the top order balance with the stoic Chris Rogers and flamboyant David Warner to open the batting.

Hughes is needed at No.3 to combat the swing and pace of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel.

He also averages 53 against South Africa and his ability to play the cut and pull shots against the extra bounce and speed of Steyn and Morkel, will provide a good scoring rate.

Hughes has batted as an opener, at No.3 and No.5 for Australia.

The last time he was dropped was in the Ashes series against England last year.

You play Hughes as an opener or No.3 in a batting line-up.

Batting him lower is a waste of time.

Having him sit around in the stands waiting to bat, limits his effectiveness for the team.

A batting order is about balance and getting players in the right spots.

The flint-hard Steve Waugh got dropped during his career and when he returned he came back a better player and one of the best post-war batsman in this country’s history.

Waugh remarked that while he was out of the Test scene he developed a strong mental edge, which upon his return, saw him cope with the pressures and stresses of the international arena.

Adversity can make or break a sportsman or sportswoman.

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