Phil Hughes to arrive at Worcestershire in time for 2012 season
Australia opener Phil Hughes is to arrive at Worcestershire earlier than expected - in time for the start of the 2012 season.
The 23-year-old former Middlesex and Hampshire batsman, who has played 17 Tests, was due to arrive in June.
But he is now available sooner, having lost his place in the Australia side.
"We are delighted to have available a player of Phil's stature for the whole 2012 season," said 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."
Hughes, who had a spell with Middlesex in 2009 and Hampshire in 2010, said: "I'm thrilled to have been able to agree terms with Worcestershire to extend my 2012 contract to the full county season.
"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 team-mates.
"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."
Called up by Australia at the age of 20 in 2009, the left-hander became the youngest player to score twin centuries in a Test - in only his second match, against South Africa.
But Hughes, who played for Australia in their Test series against New Zealand before Christmas, has managed just one more hundred since.
He was dropped after scoring only 52 runs in his last five innings. He averages 34.58 in Tests and 48.03 in first-class cricket.