Worcestershire are close to securing the services of Australia left-handed batsman Phil Hughes as their overseas player for the entire 2012 season.
Hughes initially signed a contract to link up with Worcestershire, his third county, after Australia’s tour to the West Indies ends in early June.
But Hughes has since lost his place in Australia’s Test side and he is not expected to feature in their plans for the Caribbean unless there are injuries.
Hughes is now keen to join Worcestershire earlier than planned and has been given permission by Cricket Australia to arrive at New Road from the start of the season.
Worcestershire also have a verbal agreement with Hughes but have yet to receive a signed copy of his contract though they expect that to come through in the next 24 hours.
“We are just waiting for everything to be okayed in Australia but it is just the time difference that has slightly delayed things,” said Worcestershire chief executive David Leatherdale.
“We hope to have everything confirmed in the next 24 hours. He wants to come here for six months and show what he can do in county cricket and get his Australia place back.”
Worcestershire are also in talks with Pakistan off-spinner Saeed Ajmal about a possible return to New Road as their second overseas player for the Friends Life t20 but his availability may be limited if Pakistan’s proposed tour of Sri Lanka in June does take place.