Morkel to join Gayle in Somerset’s T20 line-up

Albie Morkel has followed Chris Gayle in signing up for Somerset’s Twenty20 Cup campaign this summer.

The 30-year-old fast bowling all-rounder has been recruited to replace fellow countryman Roelof van der Merwe, who had been set to join the county on June 1 to play in all competitions.

Somerset director of cricket Brian Rose said: “As we went through the detailed paperwork process, it became apparent that Roelof was highly unlikely to be granted a work permit due to current Home Office legislation.

“With this in mind, the club has signed Albie Morkel as our second overseas player for the T20 competition this season. Albie is an immensely gifted cricketer and especially exciting one-day player.

“He fits in well with our set-up in the T20. The combination of Gayle and Morkel is a mouth-watering prospect for our supporters!”

The door remains open, however, for van der Merwe to join Somerset for the other competitions if the work permit situation can be resolved.

But Rose added: “In the event of Roelof being unable to gain Home Office clearance in time for this season, I will be actively looking for an overseas replacement for July, August and September.”

Morkel, a competent left-handed batsman as well as a high quality bowler, is a vastly experienced cricketer and a one-day specialist. He has played 55 limited-overs internationals and 31 Twenty20 matches for South Africa, while also representing Chennai Super Kings, Durham, Easterns, South Africa Under-19s and Titans.

In T20 internationals Morkel has scored 443 runs at an average of 23.31 and taken 18 wickets at a cost of 33.77 runs each. In all, he has appeared in 157 T20 matches and hit 2285 runs at 28.20, including 128 sixes, as well as capturing 136 wickets at an average of 27.40.

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