Hughes placed on standby

Opener added as cover for injured Ponting

Last Updated: 21/12/09 8:42am

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Hughes: Called up as cover

Hughes: Called up as cover

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Opener Phillip Hughes has been called up to the Australia squad for the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan as cover for Ricky Ponting.

Hughes has been named in the 13-man squad after Ponting was struck on the elbow by West Indies bowler Kemar Roche in the first innings in Perth.

And although the Australia skipper, who spent time in a hyperbaric chamber at the weekend, should be cleared to play in Melbourne, Hughes has been included as a precautionary measure.

"While Ricky Ponting is expected to be fit for the Test, the NSP (National Selection Panel) has picked a squad of 13 players for the match so there is adequate cover in the event that Ricky Ponting does not recover as quickly as is hoped," chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said.

"The NSP has taken the opportunity of including Phillip Hughes in the squad given his exciting debut at international level against South Africa, his recent form in Weet-Bix Sheffield Shield cricket and our view that he will be an important player for Australia moving forward."

Peter Siddle also returns to the Australia squad - although he will need to prove his fitness in Wednesday's Ford Ranger Cup game at the SCG.

Pain

Should Siddle come through that game unscathed then he is likely to replace Clint McKay in the starting XI.

While the news is good for Siddle, fellow quickie Ben Hilfenhaus is omitted as he continues to struggle with a knee injury.

Hilfenhaus managed just a handful of overs in club cricket in Tasmania at the weekend before experiencing pain in his knee.

"Ben Hilfenhaus bowled eight overs in club cricket on Saturday," said Australia team physio Alex Kountouris.

"However, after bowling again at training on Sunday, he reported knee pain once again.

"As such he will not be available to play in the Boxing Day Test match and is likely to have a more extensive rehabilitation.

"Ben will now meet with Cricket Australia medical staff to determine the best course of action and plan his rehabilitation for the coming weeks."

Australia: Ricky Ponting (c), Michael Clarke, Doug Bollinger, Brad Haddin, Nathan Hauritz, Phillip Hughes, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Simon Katich, Clint McKay, Marcus North, Peter Siddle, Shane Watson.

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