Vernon Philander has arrived at Somerset in time to make his debut in the opening LV County Championship fixture against Middlesex at Taunton, starting on April 5.
The South African, who has become the talk of world cricket with a sensational start to his Test career, will be at Taunton for the first two months of the season ahead of his country’s tour to England this summer.
Philander admitted to feeling the cold when stepping off a plane at Heathrow, but was soon talking of his hopes for the coming weeks.
“I want to get used to the conditions here in England to help me to prepare for the Test match series later on in the year and also get used to bowling with the Duke balls,” he said.
“I always like to settle in as quickly as possible and hopefully I can get the fans on my side and win a few games for Somerset to help get them off to a good start this season.”
Philander admits his dramatic impact as a Test cricketer has surprised even himself. He has taken 51 wickets in his first seven appearances at that level for just over 14 runs apiece.
“I have to say that it did come as a bit of a surprise to me the way that I have stepped up,” he said. “But over the previous three years in domestic cricket back home I have had a good average with the ball.
“I always say that bowling form is a bit like batting form, once you have got it you have to make it count and that is what I am trying to do.”
Somerset director of cricket Brian Rose said: “Vernon’s style of bowling and our early season pitches over here should be a perfect marriage. He puts the ball on the spot and asks questions of batsmen with virtually every delivery.”
The cider county are hoping Philander’s arrival will help them make a better start to their Championship campaign than in the last two seasons, which on both occasions saw them beaten in their opening two matches.