County news July 15, 2015

Somerset bring back van der Merwe

ESPNcricinfo staff

Roelof van der Merwe is very experienced and has played in the IPL © BCCI

Somerset have signed Roelof van der Merwe on a two-year contract for 2016 and 2017. The 30-year-old has a Dutch passport and is available for all formats as domestic-qualified player.

Van der Merwe, a right-hand batsman and left-arm spinner, is best known in the UK for his role for Somerset in the 2011 T20 Champions League where he scored 179 runs in six innings to help his adopted county to the semi-final. He also played in five matches of the Friends Life t20 that year as Somerset reached the final.

His career for his native South Africa was fairly brief, playing 13 ODIs and 13 T20s between 2009 and 2010 but earlier this year, despite success with the Titans franchise - he was the third-highest run-scorer in the Sunfoil Series, South Africa's first-class competition - decided to throw in his lot with Europe.

On receiving his Dutch passport he immediately declared himself available for Netherlands and was included in the squad for the World T20 qualifers, top scoring in the opening match. He now appears to have turned his back on South Africa with this deal for Somerset.

"I am extremely pleased that we have been able to sign a player of his class and character," Somerset director of cricket Matt Maynard said. "During his career he has proven himself to be a player of high quality and in recent years he has developed his batting to make himself a very good top order batsman.

"He is a world class fielder, a leader on the pitch and will bring a great energy to the squad. I have worked with him in the past and I can assure the Members and supporters that this is a great signing for us."

Van der Merwe added: "It will be good being back in Taunton. Making it through to the Champions League semi-final was great and for me to be coming back to Somerset to contribute in all forms of the game is awesome. I enjoyed my time in Taunton and I am really looking forward to working with Matt Maynard again. I really enjoyed working with him at St Lucia Zouks and this is an exciting time for me."