PHIL Hughes is poised to make his first appearance for Worcestershire when Middlesex visit New Road for a Clydesdale Bank 40 clash tomorrow (1.45pm).
The Australian opening batsman jetted into England on Thursday, trained for the first time with Steve Rhodes’ squad yesterday and has been included in the 13-man squad to face Middlesex.
County director of cricket Rhodes believes the fact Hughes is eager to prove a point to the Australian Test selectors after he was dropped from the national team last year will be of great benefit to Worcestershire.
Rhodes said: “Phil arrived on Thursday morning, trained with us for the first time yesterday and is keen to get started as soon as possible. I feel Worcestershire are in a good position by having signed Phil as he has a massive point to prove and it is always nice to be able to pick guys like that. He is desperate to do well and will try and score as many runs as possible for us.
“Zaheer Khan was at a real crossroads in his career when he joined us and he looked destined for the scrapheap, but he worked very hard, bowled lots of overs, and turned his career around to get back into the Indian team.”
Middlesex are third in the CB40 Group ‘A’ table after two wins from three matches and Rhodes is expecting a tough challenge.
However, Worcestershire are only two points behind having bounced back from a heavy opening defeat to the Netherlands at Kidderminster with victory over Essex at Chelmsford.
He said: “I believe Middlesex to not only be a very stong four-day team, but also in one-day cricket.
“That said, we have to tick all of our own boxes regarding our own game-plan — like we did in the win over Essex — and let them worry about us.”
Alan Richardson, who had a cortisone injection in his ankle this week, and Richard Jones are out of Rhodes’ one-day plans at the moment, while James Cameron, who also had an injection, is rested.
Rhodes said: “James had an injection in his knee and will not be playing against Middlesex, but should be fine for next week’s LV= County Championship Division One game with Somerset.
“Daryl Mitchell also had an injection in his elbow, but he is fine to play tomorrow.”
Worcestershire (from): Moeen, Solanki, Hughes, Mitchell, Kervezee, Kapil, Andrew, Scott, Choudhry, Lucas, Shantry, Harrison, D’Oliveira.