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Australia top order sent to batting 'boot camp'

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 Dec 20-22.

cricket Updated: Dec 15, 2011 00:01 IST

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 Dec 20-22. The effort is to fine-tune their preparations ahead of the Boxing Day Test.

Besides the trio, Shane Watson, Shaun Marsh (fitness permitting), Brad Haddin and Dan Christian will also attend the camp.

This camp has been scheduled prior to the Australian Test squad being announced and then coming together on December 22.

Paine out for entire summer
Australia's back-up wicketkeeper Tim Paine was today ruled out for the summer, with officials announcing he will undergo further surgery on a fractured finger immediately. The Tasmanian wicketkeeper and batsman's battered right index finger will rule him out of availability for the next three to four months, Cricket Australia said.

Hughes opts out of Big Bash
Australia's beleaguered Test opener Phil Hughes has opted out of the Big Bash Twenty20 league with Sydney Thunder to concentrate on his technique.

The 23-year-old is going through a terrible form and has been out 21 times caught behind the wicket in 31 dismissals in Test cricket. He was dismissed in similar fashion on four occasions in the recent series against New Zealand.

"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 in a statement.