Worcestershire have secured the services of Australia opening batsman Phil Hughes for the whole of the 2012 season.
The left-hander was due to link up with Worcestershire in June at the conclusion of Australia’s tour to the West Indies.
But Hughes has now lost his place in Australia’s Test squad for the current series against India and he has decided to extend his contract with Worcestershire.
Hughes, who has previous county experience with Middlesex and Hampshire, will now arrive at New Road in time for the start of the new season in early April.
“We are delighted to have available a player of Phil’s stature for the whole 2012 season,” said Worcestershire’s director of cricket Steve Rhodes.
“This was our original plan when we first set out in search of Phil’s signature and it will give the dressing room a real boost.
“Having spoken to Phil, he views playing a full English season as a fantastic opportunity to score plenty of runs and, in turn, it is hoped this will bring success to the team. We are looking forward to him joining up with the squad at the start of April for what will be an exciting 2012 season.”
Hughes hopes that playing a full season with Worcestershire will improve his chances of an eventual Test recall.
“I haven’t played a full season of domestic cricket for more than two years and I can’t wait to get to England and meet my new teammates,” he said.
“I’ve heard so many positive things about their structure, environment and wicket which are all really favourable for what I want to achieve in the coming 12 months.”