Somerset have agreed personal terms with South Africa’s Vernon Philander, the club announced Saturday after the Proteas paceman had already confirmed he would be playing for the English county.
Somerset, runners-up in last season’s first-class County Championship, will now look to complete the paperwork on a deal that would see the 34-year-old Philander heading to Taunton as a Kolpak player following South Africa’s home Test series with England.
“Somerset County Cricket Club are today able to officially confirm that we have agreed personal terms with Vernon Philander for him to become a Somerset player in 2020,” the county said in a statement.
“It has been widely reported over the last few days that the South African would be joining the county, but the official paperwork required to complete the deal is being finalised with the ECB, with the club working towards the full procedure being completed successfully in the New Year.”
Philander, who took four wickets as South Africa dismissed England for 181 in the first innings of the ongoing first Test in Centurion, confirmed on Friday he would be returning to Somerset, having previously played for the county in 2012.
“Everyone knows that,” he told reporters.
But the Proteas stalwart added it was incorrect he had signed a three-year contract.
“We’re going to go on a year-by-year basis and see how we go,” he said.
Philander was speaking after the second day’s play at Centurion in what he has announced will be his final series before retiring from international cricket.
The Kolpak ruling means citizens of countries who have signed European Union association agreements or who are lawfully working within an EU country, have the same free movement rights as EU citizens.
Kolpak signings, as well as cricketers with EU passports, are currently eligible to play in England without counting as “overseas” players.
But both these employment rulings could be directly affected by Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, now set to take place next month.
The ruling, allied to the low value of South Africa’s rand currency, has seen several former Proteas internationals join English county clubs in moves that have effectively signalled the end of their international careers so they can be deemed ‘home’ players under the regulations.
And while Morne Morkel joined Surrey after a long career with the Proteas, fellow fast bowlers Kyle Abbott (Hampshire) and Duanne Olivier (Yorkshire) cut short their time in international cricket to sign Kolpak deals intensified concerns about a damaging talent drain from the South Africa set-up.
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