Sydney: Australia's under-fire Test opener Phillip Hughes has withdrawn from the Big Bash League in order to focus on his form in the longer format. Although Hughes is expected to be axed from the side for the Boxing Day Test against India after a disappointing few months, he has not entirely given up on retaining his spot and does not want to be distracted by the BBL over the next two weeks.
Hughes had signed for the Sydney Thunder, who begin their Twenty20 campaign on Saturday night against the Melbourne Stars at the MCG. Had Hughes played in that game, he would have needed to rush to Canberra on Sunday to prepare for Monday's three-day Cricket Australia Chairman's XI encounter against the Indians.
That match is his last chance to impress the selectors ahead of Boxing Day, after he was caught in the cordon by Martin Guptill off Chris Martin in all four innings of the recent Test series as New Zealand exploited his weakness outside off stump. Since Simon Katich was dumped from Australia's squad mid-year, Hughes has averaged 27.69 in Test cricket.