Hughes signs up with Redbacks

Blue no more … Phillip Hughes has left NSW and signed with South Australia Photo: Getty Images

Former Test opener Phillip Hughes has defected from NSW to South Australia in an effort to rekindle his Test ambitions as Cricket Australia’s new contract system tests State loyalties like never before.

Hughes’s management and the South Australian Cricket Association confirmed today that Hughes had signed a three-year deal to play for the Redbacks.

The 23-year-old left-hander has an imposing record at the Adelaide Oval, where he’s made 475 runs in his three most recent Sheffield Shield visits to SA, including scores of 198 and 192.

He is representing English county Worcestershire as he tries to rebuild his batting after he was exposed by New Zealand paceman Chris Martin in December last year, and dropped from the Test team.

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He said he was determined to reclaim his place and make a fresh start.

“The next two years are the most critical in my cricket career and I’m not going to leave any stone unturned to make sure I put myself back into contention to play again for Australia,” Hughes said. “Missing a CA contract this year is not the end of the world. in fact, in lots of ways it’s a new beginning.”

The dramatic reduction in the number of CA contracts has sent shockwaves through domestic cricket, as players coming off national deals clamour for the top state contracts and look around the country for opportunities.

NSW has lost three quality openers in the past year following the retirement from Australian first-class cricket of Simon Katich and Phil Jacques, and will rarely have the services of Test openers top-order batsmen Shane Watson and David Warner. But Hughes’ decision should clear the way for talented left-hander Nic Maddinson to establish himself.

Wicketkeeper Tim Paine is contemplating a move from Tasmania to Western Australia and is expected to make a decision today, too. the Blues also stand to lose Usman Khawaja and Nathan Hauritz to Queensland, while South Australia – with an aggressive recruiting strategy under coach Darren Berry – is one of a couple of states talking to James Faulkner, whose management has indicated he is keen to remain in Tasmania.

All is relatively quiet in Victoria where officials are keen to give an emerging batch of players another season to establish themselves.

Hughes signs up with Redbacks


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