Philander signs for early-season Somerset stint

Somerset have agreed terms with exciting South African all-rounder Vernon Philander to become their overseas signing for the early part of next season.

The club have been seeking a high-profile player to represent them during April and May. Another South African, Roelof van der Merwe, has already been recruited as overseas signing from June 1.

Philander, a 26-year-old right-arm pace bowler and right-handed batsman, hit the headlines when taking 5 for 15 in the second innings of his Test debut for South Africa to bowl Australia out for 47 last month and help his side to a stunning victory in Cape Town.

He has scored 2,279 first-class runs at an average of 27.13 and taken 265 wickets at a cost of 19.72, while in List A cricket he has hit 1,180 runs at an average of 25.10 and claimed 88 wickets at 35.31.

Somerset director of cricket Brian Rose said: “Watching Vernon bowl in Cape Town against Australia recently I was immediately impressed by his ability and character in an especially demanding debut on his home ground.

“His all round ability will be a great asset in our side and I’m sure our supporters will be engaged by his infectious personality.”

Philander’s agreement with Somerset is subject to his availabilty and could be affected should he be selected to play in the Indian Premier League.

Having represented South Africa Under-19s in England in 2003, the Cape Cobras player had a short stint with Devon the following summer and appeared in two C&G Trophy matches, helping the minor county to a famous win over Leicestershire.

In 2006-07 he produced an impressive one-day season for the Cobras, averaging 72 with the bat and 30 with the ball, earning a place in South Africa’s squad for their one-day tour of Ireland, and the Twenty20 World Cup in 2007.

Philander was finally rewarded with a place in the South African Test squad for the recent series against Australia, justifying his selection with a man-of-the-match performance in his first Test. He followed that up with another five-wicket haul in the Second Test to clinch the the man-of-the-series prize.

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