"It?s a format where you?ve got to attack and that?s probably my natural game" ... Phillip Hughes.

"It's a format where you've got to attack and that's probably my natural game" ... Phillip Hughes. Photo: Getty Images

PHILLIP HUGHES is eyeing another milestone in his return to the Australian fold but insists the technique changes he made to reclaim his Test spot won't be compromised in a one-day international debut.


Hughes is set to make his first appearance in green and gold in Friday's series opener against Sri Lanka at the MCG, where he could be one of three ODI debutants in Australia's top order, alongside Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch.

The absence of Michael Clarke, David Warner and Shane Watson through rest and recovery means the batting group in the first two games of the series will be short on international experience in the 50-over format, as acting skipper George Bailey has played only 13 games, although David Hussey and Brad Haddin have almost 160 matches between them.


That collective inexperience might make Lasith Malinga a trickier opponent than usual when the slinger returns to Sri Lanka's limited-overs squad, but Hughes said he and his teammates had performed well enough in their domestic one-day careers to warrant spots.

''The experience is there in state cricket but it's not there in international cricket. But you've got to start somewhere so there'll be smiles on everyone's faces,'' Hughes said on Tuesday after the Australian squad arrived in Melbourne.

Hughes revived his international career with 233 runs in five innings during the 3-0 Test rout of Sri Lanka off the back of some excellent performances for South Australia this season, during which he showed a much-improved technique from the struggles of last season against New Zealand's Chris Martin.


The 24-year-old is now much better at scoring through the on side and far less reliant on the slashing drives and cuts of previous seasons, although he admitted the one-day format suited his natural flair for run-scoring. But he was confident the urgency of chasing quick runs would not undo his hard work, even if it meant chasing runs when the ball is bowled outside off stump.


''It's a format where you've got to attack and that's probably my natural game. Instincts take over and I really like to attack and get on the front foot and take the game forward,'' he said. ''I feel like I've worked on a number of shots, especially through the leg side, over the past six to 12 months so hopefully I can really take that into this series.''


Hughes said he had learnt to adjust between different formats to the point where he would switch between Test and 50-over modes in different net sessions. For all his improvement in the longest format, he was keen to stamp his influence on the shorter versions at international level.


''My focus has been all three formats,'' he said. ''I talk a lot about the longer form and I've done a lot of work there, but in saying that, in the back of my mind when I do go to practice it's … about the short forms as well. I want to be a complete batsman, hopefully playing three forms one day. There's still work I've got to do but for this opportunity to come up, I'm grateful for it. I've had a fair taste of Test cricket now [20 matches] but never in the shortest formats, so that's why I'm really rapt to be getting this chance.''


■ Marlon Samuels's eye socket injury is so severe he has been ordered to refrain from moving lest he do permanent damage, and he is highly unlikely to play in the West Indies' one-day series against Australia next month.


Samuels is still holed up in his hotel room with swelling and bruising around his eye after edging a ball from Malinga through the grill of his helmet into his face on Sunday night. It is understood he will miss the remainder of the Melbourne Renegades' Big Bash League tilt and has been told he cannot fly for a month.


The West Indies' five-match one-day series begins in Perth on February 1, placing the all-rounder in doubt for the remainder of the summer. He has been warned that he should stay still for fear of bursting a blood vessel, but the full extent of his injury still has not been determined because of the swelling.


"It's extremely disappointing to lose Marlon in these circumstances and we wish him all the best for a speedy recovery," coach Simon Helmot said.