PHIL Hughes is eagerly anticipating joining Worcestershire after the New Road club confirmed the Australian opening batsman would be available for the whole season.

As revealed in your Worcester News on Wednesday, the 23-year-old left-hander, who was originally due to arrive in the city in June, will now be available for the opening match in early April.

Hughes 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 Worcestershire’s structure, environment and wicket which are all really favourable for what I want to achieve in the coming 12 months.”

New Road director of cricket Steve Rhodes added: “We are delighted to have available a player of Phil’s stature for the whole 2012 season — 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.”