Middlesex have announced the signing of young New South Wales opener Phillip Hughes on a short-term contract for the 2009 season.
Hughes, who has just been named in Australia's Test squad to tour South Africa, will play for Middlesex when Murali Kartik plays in the Indian Premier League in the first six weeks of the season.
20-year-old Hughes has a first-class average of 68.78 after bursting onto the scene in last season's Sheffield Shield. Consistent performances this season has earnt him national recognition after Matthew Hayden retired.
“To have signed Phillip for the early part of the season is a major coup for Middlesex, as there is no secret of the fact that many respected voices in the game are billing Phillip as one of the most talented young batsmen in world cricket today," Middlesex Managing Director Angus Fraser commented.
"Phillip arrives with us in early April and will be available for our season’s opening Championship fixture against Glamorgan at Lord’s. The addition of such a top quality batsman to our top order will prove invaluable in the early part of the season, given the absence of both Andrew Strauss and Owais Shah.”
Hughes himself added: "I am very excited about my opportunity with Middlesex. The chance to play at Lord’s and with one of cricket’s most famous clubs is very special.
"I am looking forward to the challenge of County cricket and have spent some time chatting with Justin Langer, Stephen Waugh and Michael Clarke already about conditions and tactics in county cricket.
"I hope I can make some runs and get Middlesex off to a good start to the season, as we all know how important that can be for a teams’ morale. I will be doing all the work and preparation I can to be ready for that.”
© Cricket World 2009