THE top ranked T20 cricketer in the world will be playing for Somerset once again this season.

Somerset County Cricket Club has today confirmed that Pakistan batsman Babar Azam will be available for the last seven group matches of this year’s Vitality Blast, plus the knockout stages if the team qualifies.

The 25-year-old made quite the impression for Somerset in 2019, scoring more runs (578) than anyone else in the Blast, at an average of 52.54.

He will be re-joining Somerset from September 2 to October 4, following on from the England v Pakistan IT20 series which also involves fellow Somerset players Tom Banton and Lewis Gregory.

Somerset director of cricket Andy Hurry said: “We originally agreed terms and announced Babar’s signing prior to the impact of Covid-19.

“However, since then there have obviously been revisions to the domestic and Vitality Blast schedules.

“Since the confirmation of the 2020 fixtures we have been working collaboratively with the ECB, PCB, Babar and his management team to ensure that we could all make the necessary adjustments that would enable him to join us to fulfil the pre-existing agreement.

“Babar already being in England for the Test and IT20 series against England has helped us significantly, and we are very grateful to Babar and his management team for their understanding of the current challenges and their flexibility.

“He is a great player, is so easy on the eye and fitted brilliantly into our environment last year.

“We consider Babar to be one of our own and our members and supporters will I am sure be really looking forward to seeing him perform for Somerset again via our live stream service or, if it is permissible, here at the Cooper Associates County Ground.”

After agreeing to return to Somerset, Babar Azam said: “I really enjoyed playing for Somerset last year and I can’t wait to get back to the club.

“For obvious reasons, this year has been very different from what we were all expecting, and I fully appreciate the challenges the game has faced globally as well as here in England.

“We have all had to adapt and I’m just really pleased that we could find a way to make this happen.

“I hope that I can help to contribute to success on the field for Somerset again.”

Somerset, whose opening T20 match of 2020 was washed out in Birmingham last night, play away to Northants tomorrow (2pm).