Dean Elgar has resisted the temptation to join the exodus from South African cricket with a Kolpak deal and has agreed instead to rejoin Somerset as an overseas player.

Elgar, an opening batsman in the South Africa Test side, is understood to have rejected the opportunity to join other counties as a Kolpak registration and will return to the team he represented in 2013. That means he has committed his future to South Africa as a Test player.

That will come as a huge relief to supporters of South Africa who have recently seen Kyle Abbott (Hampshire), Hardus Viljoen (Derbyshire), Simon Harmer (Essex), Rilee Rossouw (Hampshire) and Stiaan van Zyl (Sussex) sign Kolpak deals which have ruled them out of international cricket for the immediate future.

Durham and Yorkshire are both understood to have registered some interest in recruiting Elgar, but Somerset was always his preferred option after he enjoyed his previous stint at the club. He averaged just 24.60 in his brief Championship stint in 2013 (he only had five innings) but is said to have fitted in well in the dressing room.

Somerset are currently understood to be trying to persuade Cricket South Africa to allow Elgar to miss a training camp in late May which would render him unavailable for a couple of games. South Africa play a four-Test series against England in July and August which Elgar will be expected to be involved in.

Somerset director of cricket Matt Maynard will see, in Elgar, a ready-made replacement - if only for part of the season - for the influential Australian Chris Rogers, who retired in September after leading them to within a whisker of a first Championship title.

"He has all the characteristics that you want in a player," Maynard said. "He's a fighter, he battles hard and he brings the sort of gritty determination that the members and supporters will appreciate. He has a good array of shots and is a top class fielder. He is a 100% man and the kind of person who will absolutely buy in to the values that this club holds dear.

"Over the last couple of years he has proved himself to be an excellent batsman but there is more to his game than that. He will also offer us a more than useful option with his left-arm spin. We were not the only county interested in securing his services for 2017 so we are delighted that he will be with us."

The ECB is wary of being misled on Kolpak registrations as players express a desire to become English-qualified only later to make an about turn. The ECB has confirmed that the attempt by another South African, Ryan McLaren, wo win a Kolpak deal this time last year with Hampshire was declined on grounds of his vacillating between a Kolpak and overseas registration in the past.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo