Australian top order asked to attend batting camp

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Melbourne: Concerned with the poor performance of the top order, Cricket Australia (CA) has asked skipper Michael Clarke, Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey to attend a batting group camp here from December 20-22. The effort is to fine-tune their preparations ahead of the Test series against Indian team starting here with the Boxing Day Test on December 26.

CA General Manager Pat Howard said that besides the trio, Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh (fitness permitting), Brad Haddin and Dan Christian will also attend the camp.

“The camp is designed to complement rather than duplicate the preparation of those batsmen playing in the Chairman’s XI in Canberra, which includes David Warner, Phillip Hughes, Usman Khawaja and Ed Cowan,” said Howard in a statement.

“This camp has been scheduled prior to the Australian Test squad being announced and then coming together on December 22. We continue to monitor Shaun Marsh and are hopeful he will be available for this camp,” he added.

CA also confirmed that Phillip Hughes has been granted permission to withdraw from his Big Bash League contract this year to focus on the development of his long-form cricket skills.

“Phillip Hughes has taken a decision in the interests of his personal development, to focus on the long form of the game. Phillip, in close consultation with CA and Sydney Thunder, has decided not to compete with the Thunder this season,” said Howard.