Tough Oz opener Hughes says he is ready for Proteas chin music

Phillip HughesJohannesburg, Feb. 25 : Debutant Australian opener Phillip Hughes is not too concerned about walking out to the middle of the Wanderer’s cricket ground on Thursday to meet South Africa’s much vaunted pace attack.

Hughes is unperturbed and unflappable. Waiting to ruin his day, will be Dale Steyn and Makhaya Ntini. Steyn took 10 wickets here last time and it has always been a happy hunting ground for Ntini.

But what does Hughes say?

"They played very well in Australia and now we come here. It''s definitely going to be a tough series and it''s definitely one we''re looking forward to.”

"In Australia, the domestic competition there has the likes of Shaun Tait, you face those guys in the nets. Obviously the nets are different, but there''s great skill and great bowlers around Australia. Obviously it''s a bigger stage and it''s going to be a challenge, no doubt. I love challenges."

Hughes is buttoned down, polite, quiet and respectful, and tough too.

The selectors noticed it in Tasmania earlier this year. It wasn''t just that he scored half the NSW totals in both innings on a tricky deck, it was the way he got up off the ropes when he was sconned by Ben Hilfenhaus.

The delivery would have shaken a building and it shook Hughes. Selector David Boon was watching at the time and gets that delightful old chuckle going when he recalls the hit.

"Hilfy cleaned him up, it bopped him really hard and he stood there," the hard man says, his moustache quivering with delight.

"It obviously knocked him around, shook him about a bit, but he took his time, got himself right and got back into the job and nothing changed."

Boon was an anvil and Hughes appears the same. It remains to be seen whether the kid ever rubs a sore spot. The Tasmanian didn''t. (ANI)