PHILLIP Hughes has departed for India bullish about his chances of withstanding a spin onslaught in the upcoming Test series.
Hughes, Shane Watson, Mitchell Johnson and Xavier Doherty flew out of Melbourne on Monday morning after finishing their home summer as part of Australia's one-day series-ending win against the West Indies on Sunday night.
The 24-year-old top-order batsman said observing India's recent home series against England had made him prepare for a lot of spin, even against the new ball. While most of the spin Hughes faced in this summer's Tests - from Sri Lanka's Rangana Herath - turned into him, he said he was not bothered by the prospect of Ravichandran Ashwin and perhaps also Harbhajan Singh spinning the ball away from him, with left-arm finger-spinners Pragyan Ojha and Ravindra Jadeja providing alternatives.
''They're got all bases covered with their spinners, going in and away from the bat, so it's going to be challenging,'' Hughes said.
''I've been to India a number of times now but never played Test cricket there - I've been on a Test tour but I was on the sidelines - so I'm really looking forward to getting over there and playing.
''I feel like I've had a very good summer … so I'm going over there with runs behind me and confidence .. . but they're different conditions. We've got 10 days before the first Test so I'll be doing a lot of work in the nets and facing a lot of spin.''
Hughes said he had sought advice from captain Michael Clarke, who is renowned for his skill against spin. He also expressed confidence in being able to smother the spin with sweep shots, a tactic long employed by retired left-hander Mike Hussey.
''Spin has been in the back of my mind, knowing that this series was coming up,'' Hughes said.
''I've brought that into my game in the past 12 months, the sweep shot. Playing in Sri Lanka [in 2011] in their conditions where it did turn … I played the sweep shot a little bit over there but it was a shot that I felt I had to improve on. I might bring it out in India, depending on conditions.''
Hughes, whose good form on his return to international cricket this summer has not yet been rewarded with a Test century, said he was eager for the opportunity to bat for long periods in India in conditions that often offered little for bowlers.
''You see that a number of times in Indian conditions that batsmen do get big scores. It can be tough with the spin but I've looked at a lot of footage from the series that England were there and there were a couple of wickets that were extremely flat and guys went on and got big scores.''
With Andrew Wu