Somerset are determined to give their Academy products a chance to shine in the first team next season after allowing Zander de Bruyn to move to Surrey.
The departure of the experienced South African looks certain to mean regular LV=County Championship cricket for Jos Buttler, who emerged as one of the top batting prospects in the country during the summer.
Buttler only got his chance originally because of his position as deputy wicketkeeper while Craig Kieswetter was away helping England win the ICC World Twenty20 in the Caribbean.
But the product of Somerset’s age-group sides and Academy did so well as a batsman that he made himself a fixture in the club’s one-day side and made his maiden Championship century against Hampshire at The Rose Bowl.
Somerset have other exciting batting prospects in teenagers Lewis Gregory, who made his debut in the one-day tour match against Pakistan in September, and Craig Meschede, who is rated very highly by director of cricket Brian Rose.
Speaking of de Bruyn’s departure, Rose said: “It provides a tremendous opportunity for Jos Buttler to step up take his place in the side and also to open the door for the future to players like Lewis Gregory, who has just been made captain of England Under 19s, Craig Meschede and Calum Haggett.
“It is also a great career opportunity for Zander and we would like to thank him very much for all he has done with Somerset. He has been an exemplary professional cricketer both on and off the field and his family have become a part of the team.”
De Bruyn joined Somerset as a Kolpak player at the start of 2008 and was awarded his county cap later that season.
During three seasons at the County Ground, he scored almost 2,500 first-class runs at an average of 38.42, as well as taking 26 wickets.
In List A one day matches he scored 1,656 runs at 53.42 and took 38 wickets at just over 25, while in Twenty20 Cup games he made 798 runs at 34.70 and took 14 wickets at 28.