Worcestershire sign Australia opener Phil Hughes

Hughes made 20 in Australia's second innings in their defeat to New Zealand

Worcestershire have signed Australian Test opener Phil Hughes for the second half of the 2012 season.

The 23-year-old former Hampshire and Middlesex player is due to arrive in June and stay at New Road for the remainder of the summer.

"I'm absolutely thrilled to be heading back to England in 2012," said Hughes.

"Worcestershire is a quality organisation and I can't wait to meet my new team-mates and re-acquaint myself with English conditions."

After being called up to the Australia team at the age of 20 in February 2009, the left-hander became the youngest player to score successive centuries in both innings of a Test Match - in only his second Test.

But Hughes, currently playing for Australia in their Test series against New Zealand, has managed just once more ton in his overall total of 32 Test match innings, in which he has hit 1,072 runs at 34.58.

He was part of the Australian side which lost by seven runs to New Zealand on Monday - but he is not in the best form, having had a run of scores of 9, 9, 88, 11, 10, 7, 4 and 20 in his last eight Test innings.

"My previous stint in England helped my batting enormously and I have high expectations that spending the 2012 Australian winter in the UK will do the same," he added.

"I look forward to helping Worcestershire be a force in all forms of the game in 2012."

Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes added: "To gain the signature of the current Australian Test match opener is a tremendous boost for the club and the players for the 2012 season.

"Phil is a heavy run scorer with a career ratio of a century every four games in first-class cricket.

"In 2009, he amassed 574 first-class runs in three games for Middlesex, including three centuries, which demonstrates his hunger for run-scoring.

"I look forward to working closely with Phil during the second half of the season."