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Somerset cancel Kolpak deal with Vernon Philander

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Former South Africa fast bowler Vernon Philander had his contract with Somerset cancelled ‘by mutual consent’ on May 11, five months after he was signed as a Kolpak player by the county.

Philander, 34, retired from international cricket after England’s Test series in South Africa ended in January 2020. The announcement had come in December last year, soon after which he signed a two-year deal. Following Brexit, the ECB had advised counties to sever ties with Kolpak players by the end of the 2020 season, although they could feature as overseas players in the team.

Consequently, Philander became the first ‘non-overseas’ player to have his contract terminated this season, less than a month after former teammate Keshav Maharaj, Nicholas Pooran and R Ashwin had their Yorkshire contracts cancelled. 

With international cricket suspended until at least July 1 in England and Wales, and a shortened season in the offing, Somerset’s director of cricket Andy Hurry called Philander’s contract termination a ‘prudent and sensible decision’.

“These are clearly very uncertain and challenging times for all counties, with no cricket until at least July 1, and the likelihood of a condensed and truncated season,” Hurry said.

“It was such an exciting prospect to visualise Vernon returning to the Cooper Associates County Ground, but given the current uncertainty, the cancellation of his contract was a prudent and sensible decision. I would like to thank Vernon and his management team for their understanding of the current situation and we hope one day to see Vernon back wearing Somerset colours”.

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