A Twitter timeline (AEST, GMT+1000):
PH408: Disappointed not to be on the field with the lads today, will be supporting the guys, it's a BIG test match 4 us. Thanks 4 all the support!
4:53 PM Jul 30th from web
bumblecricket: hughes out ...watson in....you heard it first here! bumble exclusive!!!!
6:14 PM Jul 30th from web
It seemed too good to be true when Phillip Hughes began appearing on Twitter on the morning of the First Test as PH408 (being the 408th bearer of the baggy-green in Australian Test history). Considering the strict terms of their contracts regarding comments on the public record, and considering the ICC regulations concerning use of mobile phones, it was a big surprise when such deep philosophical gems as:
enough jokes about my catch, you either catch it or drop it, I caught it...just ...hahahha (source)
BTW, I think its fair to say its 'game on' in the 2009 Ashes!!!!! (source)
began to appear.
But the mirage was revealed when PH408 confirmed what all of Australia had been buzzing about during England's sleeping hours, that The Australian's cricket correspondent Peter Lalor had been told by "sources close" to the team, that Hughes had been dropped from the Third Test team and replaced by Shane Watson. A confirmation that pre-empted the official announcement by the Australian camp. It didn't take long to follow the blame trail. It was Hughes' words all right, but he didn't tweet them. As, most of the time at least, is the case.
For the explanation, allow me to quote from the report for the Fairfax media by Chloe Saltau and Jamie Pandaram:
However, Cricket Australia discovered the Twitter posting was made by Hughes’s coach and manager, Neil D'Costa.
‘‘The information on Twitter was clearly a mishap, I have spoken to the guy who put it up,’’ CA spokesman Peter Young said. ‘‘He was very apologetic and agreed to take it down. Phil Hughes was not aware it had gone up on his behalf. We encourage players to engage with the public and use those channels, but within the process and not before selectors have officially published the team.’’
In defence of the youngster, D’Costa – who was in India when he posted the offending tweet – said the incident was a simple misunderstanding.
‘‘I take full responsibility, it was the time frame that messed me up,’’ D’Costa said. ‘‘I was getting loads of messages from Australia that gave me the impression an official announcement had already been made. There was no malice in it at all. I would never put something out there jeopardising the Australian team’s plans. I’ve got too much respect for the game for that.’’
To date no one has taken the miscreant tweet down. It's possible, of course, though pointless now. D'Costa runs a sports management business called Redline Management. His clients include Michael Clarke and Simon Taufel, but the page for Phillip Hughes is currently "Under Construction". I strongly recommend reading the Moises Henriques page as a classic How-Not-To example of proof reading.
Oh there was some cricket eventually, but not before Brad Haddin busted his ring finger and enabled Graham Manou to become the 411th Baggy Greenster. The horror stories were true, though, and Shane Watson was sent out to open the batting with Simon Katich. The NSP need to be held to account for the fact that they chose a squad light on for specialist openers.
After thirty overs of action, Australia were 126 for 1 at stumps. Watson seemed to vindicate his selection, being 62 not out, helped by the friendliness of the England bowling. One can only wonder Hughes would have performed in the same situation. Sure, he might not have as many as 62 by stumps, but I'd have more confidence in him hanging around longer than Watto on Friday.
Ponting is unbeaten on 17. The fiction writers at the ICC stats department tell us that he is seven runs short of Allan Border's Australian Test record of 11174, but Ponting's total includes exactly 100 runs from that dubious Australia v ICC World XI game in October 2005. The reality is that Ricky Ponting currently has 11067 Test runs against all other ICC member entities.
The spectators paid full price for one-third of the action on Thursday, so for balance I'll give you one-sixth of the Midwinter-Midwinter votes. Only one point up for grabs (and allow me to invoke this occasion in 2005 as a precedent), and it goes, however begrudgingly, to Shane Watson.