Somerset have announced Pakistan batsman Babar Azam will return to Taunton for this year’s revamped Vitality Blast.
Babar, the top-ranked Twenty20 batsman in the world, was the leading run-scorer in the 2019 competition and agreed to return to the county before coronavirus led to a change in the international and domestic calendars.
While that has led to a number of counties cancelling deals for overseas stars, Babar has travelled to England for Pakistan’s Test and T20 tour and he will rejoin Somerset next Wednesday.
The 25-year-old is expected to be available for Somerset’s final seven group matches plus the knockout stages if they qualify.
“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,” Babar said.
“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.”
In his first season with the county, Babar amassed 578 runs at an average of 52.54 and a strike-rate of 149.35.
“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,” Somerset director of cricket Andy Hurry said.