Phil Hughes says he has never felt more confident as an Australian cricketer.
His Australian coach Darren Lehmann even described him as being in “career best form.”
Yet despite a position seemingly opening up for him in the top order, the left-hander still couldn’t find his way into the line-up for Monday’s opening tri-series one-day clash against Zimbabwe in Harare.
It’s the kind of shock setback which could test this renewed confidence Hughes has built up over the past six weeks, as he rocketed back into the picture with two double centuries and an unbeaten ton for Australia A.
At just 25 years of age, Hughes has endured his fair share of setbacks as a batsman who has perennially been in and out of the national team.
But he had every right to be left scratching his head over his latest omission, as selectors declared that adding an extra allrounder was the best way of strengthening the batting in the absence of Michael Clarke.
Lehmann had earlier indicated Hughes was in line for a recall should Clarke’s hamstring not pass the test, but the decision was ultimately made not to replace the star batsman with the most in-form run-scorer in the squad.
However Hughes indicated 48 hours out from the match that he’s learnt to take nothing for granted.
With so much big cricket to come over the next 12 months, Hughes is desperate to get off the roller coaster he’s been on at the selection table ever since he debuted at Test level in 2009, but is taking things one step at a time.
“Scoring runs always helps your confidence,” Hughes said.
“I feel like I’m in a good space and I’m really happy to be around the guys again.
“Hopefully whatever the next two weeks holds if I get another opportunity I’ll take it.
“But I’m not looking too far ahead as well, I’m taking it day by day.”