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TWO hundreds in his first four Clydesdale Bank 40 outings and an average of 77 certainly represent a blistering start to Phil Hughes’ Worcestershire one-day career.
However, while Steve Rhodes has been massively impressed by his Aussie recruit’s form in the middle, it is the 23-year-old’s maturity that has really caught the New Road director of cricket’s eye.
Diminutive left-hander Hughes has already struck sparkling centuries against Hampshire and Lancashire in the 40-over arena, which has seen him total 231 runs in just four visits to the crease.
Rhodes said: “What has been pleasing about Phil so far is that he has shown real maturity about his batting. We all know about his career path and how he burst onto the scene in the Australian Test team, then he had a bit of a jolt, so now he is in a rehabilitation phase.
“He has the desire to succeed and he wants to push his way back into the Australia side — he will do that by scoring lots of runs, which will benefit us.
“He has not played like a 23-year-old for us, he has played more like a guy with plenty of ability, but also like someone with an old head on his shoulders.”
After hitting the ground running in the CB40, Hughes is now eagerly anticipating the chance to showcase his talents in the shortest format of the game.
Worcestershire’s Friends Life t20 campaign gets under way with a huge derby clash at Edgbaston against local rivals Warwickshire on Friday night and the Australian opener is a big fan of 20-over cricket.
“I love playing t20 cricket and I’m really keen to get amongst that — it’s a game I really enjoy,” Hughes added. “You always want to contribute to every game you play and hopefully we can succeed in the t20 matches.”
Hughes admits the English wickets are a vastly different prospect to those in his native Australia, but he has adapted well so far and is enjoying his stint as Worcestershire’s overseas player.
He said: “I’ve had a little bit of experience over in England now and the conditions are completely different to in Australia.
“The wickets are very slow over here and it takes a lot of time to adapt — you have to play the ball extremely late, much later than in Australia. It takes a bit of getting used to, but I’m here for plenty of time and it has been nice to get runs.
“It’s different to play here compared to Lord’s and Hampshire where I’ve been before, but New Road is an extremely nice place to play.
“I’m glad to be able to come over here and play all three forms of the game for a long stint and I’m very grateful to Worcestershire for the opportunity.
“It is an extremely good dressing room to fit into here at Worcester and the lads have made me feel very welcome. The whole club in general has and I’m grateful for the opportunity and looking forward to it.
“It’s good to be here and I’m looking forward to playing the rest of the season with the boys – this will be my longest stint in county cricket.”