Cricket

Trio desert New South Wales

2012-06-29 09:43
Phillip Hughes (File)

Sydney - Australian Test batsmen Phillip Hughes and Usman Khawaja as well as spinner Nathan Hauritz have all left New South Wales this week in bids to revive their flagging international careers.

All three lost their central contracts with Cricket Australia last week and Hughes joined South Australia on Thursday, while Khawaja and Hauritz announced on Friday they would be heading north to Queensland.

Hughes, 23, had been lauded as Australia's Test opener for the future after Simon Katich was dispensed with last year but continuing problems with his technique saw him dumped after his 17th Test, against New Zealand early last December.

"The next two years are the most critical in my cricket career and I'm not going to leave any stone unturned to make sure I put myself back into contention to play again for Australia," the lefthander said in a news release.

"Missing a CA contract this year is not the end of the world. In fact, in lots of ways it's a new beginning."

Pakistan-born Khawaja, 25, made his Test debut as a top order batsman to much fanfare at the end of the last Ashes series but was also dropped after the same Test against the Black Caps last year, having scored 263 runs in six Tests.

"The easy decision for Usman would have been to stay where he was, but to his credit, he got in touch with us to see whether there was an opportunity ... to take his game to a new level, and for that stance, I congratulate him," said Queensland coach and former test batsman Darren Lehmann.

Hauritz was Australia's leading spinner going into the last Ashes series with 63 wickets in 17 Tests but never bowled a ball in anger against England as Australia's selectors plucked a series of bowlers from obscurity in preference to him.

"I still believe I can play for Australia and I'm confident the way (Queensland) play and the group they have will help me with that goal," said the 30-year-old, who is returning to his native Queensland after six years in New South Wales.

Australia, who have revived their Test fortunes after the mauling from England at the turn of last year, face South Africa and Sri Lanka in three-test series around the end of this year.

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