SOMERSET skipper Justin Langer has agreed to stay at the County Ground for the 2009 season, the Gazette can reveal.

The county made the announcement late on Wednesday afternoon and Langer said: "Somerset is a great project for me to be involved with and I am really delighted to be coming back here for another season.

"From where we started to where we have got so far is a long way and this is a hugely exciting time to be involved with the club.

"There is a big commitment at the club led right from the top, including director of cricket Brian Rose and coach Andy Hurry, who I have got the greatest admiration for."

Rose and batsman Langer, 37, have agreed the new deal which is subject to certain conditions, including Indian Premier League dates, which the Western Australian has already committed to for early 2009.

The director of cricket said: "The club is developing along the right lines on and off the field and continuity is a key factor.

"Under Justin's excellent leadership the team have become very competitive in the County Championship and also won promotion in the Pro40 League.

"We now also need to concentrate on our Twenty20 cricket, which is one area we haven't got right so far.

"We are looking to become a much greater force in this form of the game over the next two years.

"Justin is aware of this and will have a major influence on taking us to where we want to be. I am delighted he has agreed to stay on for another season."

Inspirational skipper Langer, a veteran of 105 Australian Test matches, spent five weeks with the Cidermen in 2006.

That year he set a new county batting record of 342 against Surrey.

His short stay was such a success that he returned last season, accompanied by his wife and young family.

He captained the side and led them to a double promotion in both the LV County Championship and the Pro40.

This season Somerset have been beaten only once in the six County Championship matches they have played so far.

Langer said: "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here so far.

"Last year was exceptional and this season we have continued to move forward by competing strongly in the top division of the championship and reaching the quarter-finals of the Friends Provident Trophy.

"The Twenty20 Cup was in essence a disappointment.

"There are plenty of areas we can work on and I'm looking forward to playing a part in that and the club's continued development."

Langer may miss some of the early games of the 2009 season.

He said: "I didn't play in the IPL last year because it was very important to me to honour the commitment I had made to Somerset.

"Now it is equally important I honour the contract I signed with Rajasthan Royals in October.

"It remains to be seen how much of the next IPL season will clash with the season over here, but I wouldn't think there would be much of an overlap."

Somerset chief executive Richard Gould said: "While we would naturally love to have Justin for the whole season, we understand he has made a commitment to Rajasthan Royals that he must honour."