Middlesex have signed 20-year-old Australian opening batsman Phillip Hughes.
Left-hander Hughes, who was recently called up to the Australian Test side, will join Middlesex on a short-term contract for the first six weeks of the 2009 season as cover for Middlesex's overseas signing Murali Kartik, who will be at the IPL tournament.
The club's new managing director of cricket,Angus Fraser, said: "To have signed Phillip for the early part of the season is a major coup for Middlesex. Many respected voices in the game are billing Phillip as one of the most talented young batsmen in world cricket today.
"Phillip arrives in early April and will be available for our season's opening championship fixture against Glamorgan at Lord's. The addition of such a top quality batsman to our top order will prove invaluable in the early part of the season, given the absence of both Andrew Strauss and Owais Shah [on England duty]."
Hughes finished his first season with New South Wales with a first class batting average of 62.11 and helped his side to victory in the Sheffield Shield final with a century - his 116 making him the youngest player to score a ton in the final.
He is currently the second highest run scorer in this winter's Sheffield Shield, scoring 963 runs at an average of 68.78 - a performance that has won him the Bradman young player of the year award for 2009.