Hughes signing is major coup for Worcestershire

Worcestershire have signed Australia opening batsman Phil Hughes as their overseas player for the second half of next season.

Hughes, 23, will arrive at New Road in the first week of June and stay with Worcestershire for the remainder of the season.

It will be left-hander Hughes’s third stint in county cricket following spells with Middlesex in 2009, which he used to prepare for that summer’s Ashes series, and Hampshire the following year.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be heading back to England in 2012. Worcestershire is a quality organisation and I can’t wait to meet my new teammates and re-acquaint myself with English conditions,” Hughes said.

“My previous stints in England helped my batting enormously and I have high expectations that spending the 2012 Australian winter in the UK will do the same. I look forward to helping Worcestershire be a force in all forms of the game in 2012.”

Hughes made his Test debut at just 20 and became the youngest player to score successive centuries in both innings of a Test match.

But Hughes has signed for Worcestershire at a time when his Test place is in doubt after a run of low scores. Australia captain Michael Clarke hinted after Australia’s seven-run defeat by New Zealand in Hobart yesterday that Hughes might be set for a spell playing state cricket for New South Wales in an attempt to regain form.

However his capture is a significant one for Worcestershire who were keen to recruit an overseas batsman to stabilise their top order.

“To gain the signature of the current Australian Test opener is a tremendous boost for the club and the players for the 2012 season,” said Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes.

“Phil is a heavy run scorer with a career ratio of a century every four games in first-class cricket. In 2009 he amassed 574 first-class runs in three games for Middlesex, including three centuries, which demonstrates his hunger for run-scoring. I look forward to working closely with Phil during the second half of the season.”

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