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Batsman earns Australia 'A' call-up
WORCESTERSHIRE will be without leading run-scorer Phil Hughes for the LV= County Championship Division One relegation battle against Lancashire following his call-up by Australia ‘A’.
The left-hander, averaging 45.12 from just five Championship matches, has seen his performances for the County rewarded with a place in the Baggie Greens squad to face the England Lions at Edgbaston from today.
However, the timing is far from ideal for bottom-of-the-table Worcestershire as tomorrow sees the start of the four-day clash against Lancashire, who are one place above them, at New Road (11am).
Matt Pardoe will open alongside captain Daryl Mitchell, while James Cameron, dropped for the seven-wicket defeat at Warwickshire, returns to bolster the batting at the expense of Brett D’Oliveira.
Director of cricket Steve Rhodes , who retains second XI stars Chris Russell and all-rounder Joe Leach, said: “It’s good and bad news. It’s tremendous news for Phil, he’s worked so hard to try and get back on the track of international cricket and this is a stepping stone.
“The disappointing thing for Worcestershire is he’s the batsman who’s been getting the runs and we’ll miss him.
“However, adversity like that often can work for you and that’s what I have been trying to push these last few days to the team.
“We have got to make up for his runs now rather than just thinking we’ll miss them, we all need to add to our tally and make up for the runs he would have scored.”
He added: “Matt did really well against South Africa opening the batting, got a very good 50 against a better attack than Lancashire’s and hopefully he’ll be able to transfer that form into to a good score for us.
“It’s not him filling the shoes of Phil Hughes it’s the whole team that have got to make up for the runs we would have potentially got from Phil.”
Worcestershire are five points behind the Red Rose county with a game in hand but triumphed by 205 runs at Old Trafford in July, their only victory to date.
Rhodes, who will have Hughes back for Sunday’s visit of Leicestershire, said: “We’ve got to be ready for a backlash from beating them up at Old Trafford.
“Crucially, looking back at the Edgbaston game, we need to take those opportunities to put ourselves in a winning position rather than relying on a last innings shoot-out.
“We need to be going into the last innings in a dominant position.”
Worcestershire (from): Pardoe, Mitchell (c), Solanki, Moeen, Cameron, Leach, Pinner, Andrew, Soctt, Russell, Richardson, Lucas.