NSW opener Hughes earns Baggy Green
Melbourne, Feb. 5 : New South Wales star opener Phillip Hughes is in line to make his Test debut for Australia later this month after being named in a 14-man squad for the tour of South Africa.
The 20-year-old is set to become Australia''s youngest Test debutant since Craig McDermott played his first match as a teenager against the West Indies in December
Australia''s first Test against South Africa begins on February 26 in Johannesburg.
West Australian Marcus North has emerged as the bolter in the squad, the left-handed batsman rewarded for his toil at domestic level with the bat and his off-spin bowling.
According to Fox Sports, Phil Jaques missed out on selection because he had not played enough cricket since returning from back surgery.
The No. 1 spin bowling gig is still up for grabs, with both Bryce McGain and Nathan Hauritz both named in the squad.
Hughes fills the vacancy at the top of the order caused by Matthew Hayden''s retirement last month.
Chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch said Hughes had been handed a tough start to his international career against the might of the Proteas'' pace attack.
"I don''t suppose the introduction could be any tougher for a young opening batsman, but he will be surrounded by experienced batsmen and we are confident he will meet the challenge," Hilditch said in a statement.
Hilditch said North had been picked because of his ability to not only score runs, but contribute with the ball.
"Marcus North gets his long-awaited chance to join an Australian squad," he said.
"Whilst Marcus is still a young man, he has had over eight years of first-class experience.
"He has been added to the squad both because of his strong (Sheffield) Shield batting form this year and his ability to bowl off-spin, which adds greatly to the flexibility of the squad.
"This is consistent with our approach since 2005 in having batsmen in the top six providing quality overs to support the bowling group.
"His addition, together with the retention of Andrew McDonald following his successful debut in the Sydney Test, gives the squad great flexibility."
Australia fly out to South Africa on February 16 and have a practice match against South Africa A in Potchefstroom from February 20-22. (ANI)