Somerset have signed Babar Azam the ICC’s IT20 number one ranked batsman in time for the T20 Blast, subject to the appropriate visa and No Objection Certificate (NOC) clearance.
The 24-year-old Pakistan batsman made his International T20 debut against England in 2016.
He has played in IT20 29 matches, scoring over 1180 runs at an average of 53.72 with a best of 97* and a strike rate of 127.78 with 9 half-centuries to his name.
Babar Azam will be available for all 14 of Somerset’s T20 Blast group matches plus the quarter-final.
Depending upon his international commitments with Pakistan Azam’s availability for Finals Day is still unclear.
Somerset director of cricket Andy Hurry said: “To be able to sign a player of the calibre of Babar Azam is tremendously exciting.
“He is a proven performer at the very highest level and that is highlighted by the fact that he is the top rated international T20 batsman in the world.
“Obviously, everyone wants to sign a world class performer, but we feel that continuity of selection is equally important. For us it is about securing the services of someone as talented as Babar Azam for more than just a handful of fixtures.”
Regarding his signing to Somerset Babar Azam said: “I am looking forward to the new challenge that playing T20 cricket in England will bring.
“I have heard good things about Somerset from Azhar Ali and I want to play a part in the Club winning matches.
“I know that Somerset get good support and I hope that I can give them something to cheer about this year.”