Axed Australian opener Phil Hughes was punched by a stranger while he was drinking, and lost his shirt during the melee that took place at the Star Hotel in Macksville on the Boxing Day.
A witness said Hughes, who had spent the day at Bowraville races before arriving at the pub, was involved in a dust-up with another male patron after the two men exchanged heated words.
Hughes’ manager, James Henderson, said that there was an “altercation” on Monday night but Hughes was not the instigator.
“Phil was with a big group of friends and family and they were approached by another guy who had had a bit to drink and was giving (Hughes) some lip,” Henderson said.
“The man who punched Phil wasn’t with his group at all. He just came at Phil and hit him for whatever reason and he was later escorted from the premises.”
Hughes lost his shirt in the melee but went home to change into a replacement before returning to the hotel to continue drinking.
“Phil was not escorted from the hotel. He came back after changing his shirt and stayed on until it closed just after 9pm,” Henderson said.
Worcestershire have signed Australian Test opener Phil Hughes for the second half of the 2012 season. Hughes will arrive at New Road during the first week of June 2012.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to be heading back to England in 2012. Worcestershire is a quality organisation and I can’t wait to meet my new teammates and re-acquaint myself with English conditions”, said Hughes.
“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.
“I look forward to helping Worcestershire be a force in all forms of the game in 2012.”
Hughes earned his call-up to the Australian team aged just 20 and soon became the youngest player to score successive centuries in both innings of a Test Match. During his Test career, Hughes has scored 1048 runs in 16 matches.
Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes said, ” 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.”
Australian left-hand opening batsman Phil Hughes has dislocated his shoulder during off-season training, and is now hoping that the next man in the queue for places in the Australian Test team, does not do quite enough to jump ahead.
Selectors have several options as to how to replace Hughes, one of them being simply to pick the precocious Steve Smith in the squad as a batsman, and name an extra bowler in a squad of 14.
The other centrally contracted batsmen not in the squad include Shaun Marsh, Adam Voges and Cameron White – all likely to be engaged in limited-overs combat in England during the early part of the tour.
Then there is Callum Ferguson, anointed as a Test player of the future by chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch, but still in the latter stages of rehabilitation from a serious knee injury.
Prescribed nine months off before he can return to action, Ferguson is working on his strength and technique at Adelaide Oval’s indoor nets.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the others in the running are Tasmanian captain George Bailey or newly appointed South Australia skipper Michael Klinger.
Judges are also touting talented NSW left-hander Usman Khawaja as an emerging talent. (ANI)