Hughes's big dream
Australia batsman Phillip Hughes says it will be the realisation of a childhood dream if he plays against England in the Ashes this year.
The 20-year-old left-hander is in possession of one of the two opening spots after a blistering start to his Test career during Australia's recent 2-1 Test series win in South Africa
In only his second match at this level the New South Welshman became the youngest player in history to score two hundreds in the same Test with scores of 115 and 160 against the Proteas in Durban.
With England hosting the Ashes this year, Hughes is doing his best to acclimatise to local conditions with a six-week stint playing for Lord's-based Middlesex, the county side of England captain Andrew Strauss.
"I'm at Middlesex for six weeks and I'm thoroughly looking forward to it and obviously the Ashes will be here not long after that," Hughes said here on Monday. "Hopefully I'll be there and that will be a massive thing.
"The hype around the Ashes is always massive all around the world. It's a five-Test series that as a kid I always wanted to play in.
"I don't really know what to expect because I have not been here before so we'll have to wait and see how it pans out."
Australia won the last Ashes series 5-0 but they will be without the likes of retired greats Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist when the latest chapter in international cricket's oldest rivalry starts in Cardiff in July.
But the trio were all missing in South Africa where, having lost on home soil to Graeme Smith's men, Ricky Ponting's new-look side showed they were not ready to surrender their position as the world's best Test side just yet.
"You saw in South Africa that there are a few new faces around - your Marcus Norths, your Ben Hilfenhaus' and obviously myself," said Hughes.
"We have come off a series win in South Africa and the guys are pretty pumped about that. That's what you play cricket for, to play with your mates and to enjoy it and to wins games of cricket."
Middlesex's decision to sign Hughes has been criticised by England national selector Geoff Miller, who said he could not imagine a situation where a young England batsman was given a chance to play for a state side before an Ashes series in Australia.
But Middlesex director of cricket Angus Fraser said here on Monday the county had signed Hughes before he made his Australia debut and that, in any case, there was a wider issue at stake.
"We signed him not expecting to be involved in any shape or form," Fraser told Sky Sports. "But, even so, I don't buy into that whole thing at all.
"When England play Argentina (at football) at Wembley, do you want Lionel Messi to play? Well, of course you do. You want to see Lionel Messi play well.
"But you also want to see England win and that's where we are at here.
"I want to see two sides that are well prepared and playing to their best and are creating the sort of excitement the 2005 Ashes (which England won) created and the better side comes out on top.
"Of course I want England to win, but I don't want England to win just because the Australians are disadvantaged and we've made life extremely difficult for them.
"You go down that slope, then what do you expect when you arrive in Australia next time? Are we going to be changing in a tent at the back of the SCG (Sydney Cricket Ground) because they (the Australians) won't let us in the dressing-rooms? Of course not."