County news January 25, 2012

Somerset sign Albie Morkel for Twenty20 season

ESPNcricinfo staff

Somerset have signed Albie Morkel, the South Africa allrounder, as one of their overseas players for this year's Friends Life t20 campaign. Another South African, Roelof van der Merwe, who played for Somerset in last year's Friends Life t20 and in the Champions League T20, had been expected to join the county from the start of June, from the Friends Life t20 onwards; but difficulties in obtaining a work permit for him led Somerset to seek an alternative.

Morkel, who has scored 2285 runs and taken 131 wickets in Twenty20 cricket, as well as played in 31 Twenty20 internationals, will join Chris Gayle as Somerset's overseas signings for the Friends Life t20. Somerset have finished as runners-up in England's domestic T20 competition in each of the last three seasons.

"The club has signed Albie Morkel from South Africa as our second overseas player for the T20 competition this season," Somerset's director of cricket Brian Rose said. "Albie is an immensely gifted cricketer and especially exciting one-day player, and fits in well with our setup in the T20. The combination of Gayle and Morkel is a mouth-watering prospect for our supporters."

Rose said that visa problems had delayed Somerset's signing of van der Merwe and bringing in another player for the latter stages of the season would become a priority, should the left-arm spinner fail to get clearance.

"As we went through the detailed paperwork process it became apparent that Roelof van der Merwe was highly unlikely to be granted a work permit due to current Home Office legislation, though the door remains open for him at Somerset if the situation can be resolved," Rose said. "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."