SOMERSET have strengthened their top order batting by signing South African Test batsman Alviro Petersen as their overseas player for the first part of the 2013 season.

The 31-year-old, who was born in Port Elizabeth, has played in 16 Test Matches and 17 One Day Internationals and has an impressive record in all formats of the game.

In Test cricket Petersen has scored almost 1200 runs at an average of 42.39, including four centuries, with a best of 182 which he scored in the series against England this summer at Headingley, as well as 437 ODI runs at an average of 31.21.

In all first class cricket he has scored 9812 and has an average of 39.56.

Peterson said: “I am very pleased to have signed to play for Somerset as their overseas player for the first part of next season.

“Somerset are a successful team in all forms of cricket and I look forward to my time at the County Ground, and hope that I can help them to win some trophies in 2013.”

Guy Lavender, the Somerset Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to have signed Alviro Petersen and he will play for us right the way through until the commencement of the T20 next summer, when he will depart to resume international cricket with South Africa.

“He is an exceptional player and has an impressive record as a batsman, which England found out about during this summer’s series. Alviro Petersen fits the core priorities that we laid out and is very much along the lines of the type of player we discussed with Brian Rose before his departure.

The Chief Executive added: “It is brilliant that he is coming to the club and we look forward to welcoming here at Taunton in the spring.”