Hughes in 2009
|Full name||Mervyn Gregory Hughes|
|Born||23 November 1961|
Euroa, Victoria, Australia
|Height||192 cm (6 ft 4 in)|
|Test debut (cap 332)||13 December 1985 v India|
|Last Test||17 March 1994 v South Africa|
|ODI debut (cap 104)||11 December 1988 v Pakistan|
|Last ODI||23 May 1993 v England|
|Domestic team information|
Source: Cricinfo, 26 December 2010
Mervyn Gregory Hughes (born 23 November 1961) is a former Australian cricketer living in Melbourne. A right-arm fast bowler, he represented Australia in 53 Test matches between 1985 and 1994, taking 212 wickets. He played 33 One Day Internationals, taking 38 wickets. He took a hat-trick in a Test against the West Indies at the WACA in 1988–89 and went on to take 8/87 for the match. In 1993, he took 31 wickets in the Ashes series against England. He was a useful lower-order batsman, scoring two half-centuries in Tests and over 1,000 runs in all. He also represented the Victorian Bushrangers, Essex in English county cricket, the ACT Comets and Australia A in the World Series Cup.
Hughes was born in Euroa, Victoria. He started kindergarten in Apollo Bay and his first year at school came when the family went back to Euroa. Organized sport began in 3rd grade at Werribee. In 5th grade, he pestered his father to be allowed to join football at Werribee where he held his own, despite the fact that he was one of the smallest players when out of his age group. Hughes' enthusiasm for sport was described as "unquenchable."
Hughes started his career playing district cricket with Footscray in 1978–79. Footscray (now called Footscray-Edgewater) has subsequently had their main home ground named after him; it is now known as the Mervyn G. Hughes Oval. He was selected for Victoria in 1981–82 and made his debut against the South Australian Redbacks.
Hughes first appeared for Australia against India in 1985–86. He took 1–123 and was not re-selected until the Ashes series against England the following year.
At the WACA Ground in 1988–89, Hughes completed a hat-trick that was unusual as it was spread across three separate overs, two innings and two different days. He had Curtly Ambrose caught behind with the last ball of his 36th over; ended the West Indies' first innings in his 37th, by removing Patrick Patterson; and more than a day later, completed his hat-trick by trapping Gordon Greenidge lbw with the first ball of the West Indies' second innings.
The Australian selectors always viewed Hughes as a Test match player rather than a one-day player. He was generally only selected for the shorter game when another player was injured or otherwise unavailable.
Hughes' physical presence (a burly 6'4"), handlebar moustache, a penchant for exuberant displays of affection for his fellow players, along with a tendency to talk to the opposition in inventively colourful language (his nickname was "Fruitfly" – a somewhat incongruous nickname until Allan Border explained it was a reference to "Australia's greatest national pest") and a (some would say) "mincing" run-up (that at times stretched to 45 paces), made him a firm favorite amongst supporters, who would often imitate his warm-up stretches behind him en masse. In England, on his second Ashes tour in 1993, the crowd often chanted "Sumo" when he ran in to bowl.
Late in his career, Hughes undertook a stint with the ACT Comets, which turned out to be unsuccessful. He claimed only five wickets at an average of 46.80 over six matches (Rodney Davison, Jimmy Maher, Jamie Cox, Shaun Young and Ryan Campbell).
Hughes replaced Allan Border in June 2005 as a selector for the Australian cricket team, although his performance as a selector came under much scrutiny after many controversial decisions and the loss of the number-one ranking in Test matches after the 2009 Ashes series. However, Australia would go on to have a successful 2009–10 summer, finishing undefeated in all three forms of the game. Hughes though, was later dropped as a selector for the Australian cricket team and subsequently replaced by Greg Chappell on 29 October 2010.
He is a prominent supporter of the Western Bulldogs in the Australian Football League and has also done some acting, portraying Ivan Milat in the comedy movie Fat Pizza. Additionally, Hughes has appeared on TV commercials as well, featuring losing weight with "The 14-day All-Bran Challenge" and appearing as himself in the English comedy show Hale and Pace.
Hughes was a notorious consumer of alcohol and food. Towards the end of his career, this was felt to have increased damage to his knees and may have ultimately led to a shortening of his Australian and Victorian playing careers. Having always been rather overweight, he participated in both seasons of Channel Nine's Celebrity Overhaul to lose weight and improve his fitness. He was the top performer (weight-wise) in the first season of the show.
Hughes is noted for his large moustache. Described by Cricinfo as being "of incredible proportions", the moustache became sufficiently synonymous with Hughes for him to be rumored to insure it for £200,000. In a 2013 Sky Sports interview during the 2013 Ashes series, he quashed this rumour as being false.
Hughes also played Australian rules football during the winter in the late 1970s and early 1980s; at his peak, he was a key position player for the Werribee Football Club in the Victorian Football Association first division.
In the media
In an interview for "Hotspur" magazine, Hughes revealed he has supported Tottenham Hotspur since the early 1980s. "I went to a mate's house to watch the FA Cup Final, everyone in the house was supporting the other team except the guy I sat next to. He was English, and I told him I was with him 100 per cent. Spurs won and I've supported them ever since."
- "Cricinfo profile". Content.cricinfo.com. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
- Patrick Keane, in association with Merv Hughes, Merv: the Full Story (Australia: HarperCollinsPublishers, 1997), page 11.
- "AUSTRALIA v WEST INDIES 1988–89: Second Test Match". Wisden.
- Spinner poses weighty problems – Daily Telegraph – 7 March 2007
- Beveridge, Riley. "Your AFL club's most famous supporters, from Barack Obama to Cam Newton". Fox Sports. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
- "Merv Hughes". Cricinfo. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
- "How the stars cover their assets". BBC. 31 July 1998. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
- Marc Fiddian (10 April 1982). "Brombey cleared to Cobras". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 19.
- Jackson, Russell (6 February 2015). "The Joy of Six: Merv Hughes". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
- Patrick Keane, in association with Merv Hughes, Merv: the Full Story (Australia: HarperCollinsPublishers, 1997)
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