Test Match Sofa
Worcs want seven-week Hughes stint
Worcestershire hope that Australia batsman Phil Hughes will be able to play for them in the opening weeks of next season even if his increasing international commitments mean that he will be unavailable for most of the summer.
Hughes enjoyed a successful stint with Worcestershire last season while he was dropped from Australia’s Test squad. His second spell in county cricket helped him to win a Test recall for the recent home series against Sri Lanka and he was also called up for the one-day series that followed.
The left-hander is now in line for a place in Australia’s squad for the Ashes tour to England and also for the ICC Champions Trophy which will be staged in England in June.
If Hughes is included in both squads it will restrict his availability for county cricket to a seven-week stretch at the start of the season which would force Worcestershire to recruit another overseas player for the remainder of the season.
“We are still asking questions in Australia regarding Phil’s likely availability for us and his possible selection for the Ashes and Champions Trophy,” said Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes.
“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that Phil has done extremely well since he got back into the Australia side and he’s got a chance of playing in the Ashes and the Champions Trophy.
“If that’s the case he would only be available to play county cricket for about seven weeks but that’s a very important seven-week period with a lot of Championship cricket in it.
“At the moment we just don’t know what his availability is going to be and we might get to the stage where we will have to hazard a guess at what that will be.”
Meanwhile former Australia Under-19 and Western Australia wicketkeeper Michael Johnson, one of Worcestershire’s new recruits, is due to report for pre-season training next week.
Johnson, 24, will play for Worcestershire on a British passport, and will spend two months preparing for the new season when he links up with his new county team-mates at their winter training base at Malvern College.
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