County news January 5, 2012

Hughes extends Worcestershire stay

ESPNcricinfo staff

Phillip Hughes will spend the entire 2012 season at Worcestershire after extending his contract with the county. Hughes, the 23-year-old Australia opener who was dropped from the Test team after a disappointing series against New Zealand, had originally agreed to join Worcestershire in June but has now agreed to arrive in the UK at the start of April.

The attractions of the relationship are obvious to both parties. Hughes, whose technique has been exposed somewhat at international level, will have plenty of opportunity to learn to deal with the moving ball in English conditions, while Worcestershire's brittle batting will be boosted by the addition of a player good enough to have scored two centuries in a Test against a formidable South African attack. Hughes' presence at New Road for the entire season will also alleviate the disruption sometimes caused by the short-term nature of many modern overseas player contracts.

"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 also expressed his delight. "I'm thrilled to have been able to agree terms with Worcestershire to extend my 2012 contract to the full county season," he said. "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."

Meanwhile Gareth Andrew will miss the start of the season after undergoing knee surgery. Andrew, the 28-year-old all-rounder, who finished the 2011 season second in county cricket's Most Valuable Player ratings, underwent micro-fracture treatment in early December. Worcestershire do not expect him to be match fit until late May.