I'll never be more ready - Hughes prepared for Ashes chance
Daniel Hughes claimed he will "never be more ready" to play for Australia in the Ashes if selected after captain Steve Smith's glowing endorsement.
Hughes, 28, has emerged as a shock candidate for a spot as Australia's number six against England, starting on November 23, following praise from New South Wales skipper Smith.
Smith played a key role in surprisingly dropping last season's leading run scorer in the Sheffield Shield Ed Cowan in favour of Hughes, who the Aussie captain views as a future Test player.
The 28-year-old repaid Smith's faith with an impressive 57 against South Australia and Hughes said he is ready if Ashes selectors come knocking.
"I'm ready, yeah," Hughes said on Wednesday. "I'm 28 now, I've been playing professional cricket for six years, I'm more mature now.
"I'm ready to go, I'll never be more ready for an opportunity if I get it."
Hughes added: "I was a bit surprised when I heard him [Smith] say that. The whole Ed Cowan thing was a surprise to me as well. He played extremely well last year, has played well for a number of years now.
"I was extremely surprised, but I wasn't too nervous [playing the opening match]. Opening the batting or batting at six, it was all the same to me, especially down there in Adelaide where the ball was swinging and nipping around the whole game.
"Ed has scored lots of runs, I'm in good form … it was nice getting the nod from the captain. But there's a long list of guys for that number six spot in the first Test. These next two games are going to be crucial."