SOMERSET will have the services of captain Justin Langer for the start of the season after he pulled out of the new Indian Premier League.

The county were prepared to be without the veteran of 104 Tests for Australia for the first two months of the summer after he committed to the lucrative Twenty20 competition.

In his column on the BBC website, Langer confirmed Jaipur had paid £102,000 to win the auction for him, which would also have earned him a healthy pay cheque.

However, he later said: "Due to my county commitments at Somerset I am unavailable to play in this first year (of the IPL), but, like everyone else, will be fascinated to see just how big an impact this tournament has."

He will now be available to lead Somerset in their Friends Provident Trophy clash against Hampshire at the County Ground on April 20.

Somerset's director of cricket Brian Rose said on the club's website: "In the whole of my cricketing career, which stretches back to 1968, in terms of integrity, what Justin Langer has done puts him leaps and bounds ahead of anything else I have experienced.

"He is sticking to the contract that he had agreed with Somerset and I hope that the cricketing public are aware of what he has turned his back on to come and play for the club for the whole season.

"I am absolutely delighted that he has stood by his contract which I think is good not only for this county but for cricket as a whole."

The club's chief executive Richard Gould said: "Justin Langer wants to keep his promise to come back and play for Somerset for the whole of the season and by doing so has forgone a considerable sum of money, for which I admire him hugely."

Meanwhile, Somerset have signed South African pace bowler Alfonso Thomas on a Kolpak deal.

Thomas, who plays for the Durban-based Dolphins franchise, will be available providing he secures a work permit application.

Thomas had a brief stint as a stand-in overseas player with Warwickshire at the end of last season, following some time in club cricket in Cheshire.

Rose said: "We are confident we can finalise the deal and that he will be a good signing for us.

"I have watched him twice and been impressed by him.

"He has got a career average of 26, which is first class, and will add greatly to the depth of our bowling, considering Andrew Caddick has just had a back operation and Ben Phillips missed all of last season."

He has appeared once for South Africa, in a Twenty20 international against Pakistan a year ago, when he took 3-25.

Thomas is also a capable lower order batsman with two first-class hundreds to his name.

Thomas, a 31-year-old from Cape Town, will become Somerset's second Kolpak signing, joining compatriot Charl Willoughby and is the club's second foreign signing of the winter following the arrival of West Indies all-rounder Omari Banks.

Somerset hope to sign a Kolpak batsman before they head to Dubai for pre-season next month.