SOMERSET have received a huge boost with the news all-rounder Arul Suppiah has been granted a visa and will be returning to the County Ground in time for pre-season training.

Suppiah suffered a setback earlier this year when his application for permanent residency in this country was turned down.

Suppiah, 25, who was born in Malaysia, came to Millfield School at the age of 13 and has been in the Somerset set-up almost ever since.

He played cricket for England at under-14,15, 17 and 18 level and made his Somerset debut in 2002.

Brian Rose, the Somerset director of cricket, said: “I know Arul will be overjoyed by the news because he has sacrificed the best part of half of his life to become a first-class cricketer in England. This is fantastic news both for him and Somerset.

“Arul took his chance very well in the Twenty20 in 2008 and remained in the one-day side, where he brings a lot to the game.

“What we now need him to do is secure his spot in terms of batting and develop his left-arm spin, because he has got a wonderful opportunity to succeed.

“It is up to him because now he has got an opportunity and he has got to take it with both hands.”

In 2008 Suppiah’s cricket was mostly for Somerset 2nds.

But when he did get his first-team chance he did nothing wrong and hit 163 runs at an average of 32.60, as well as playing seven one-dayers.

Since 2002 Suppiah has played in 28 first-class matches for Somerset.

He has scored over 1,300 runs at an average of 28.78 and has a career best of 123.

Suppiah has produced a number of impressive performances in one-day cricket and is one of the most athletic fielders on the Somerset staff.

He has also regularly played Minor Counties cricket for Devon.

Suppiah's Somerset debut came in the tied match against West Indies A, in which he took 3-46 and he appeared in four one-day games that 2002 season.

In 2005 he was given an extended run in the first team and showed what he was capable of by hitting his maiden first-class century, ending with an average of 32.23.

The following year he scored 563 first-class runs in the 12 matches he played, but in 2007 his opportunities were limited.

In 2008 Suppiah played in six Twenty20 matches, ending with a batting average of 25.50 and taking four wickets at 27.50.

The player has made it clear he has got his eyes firmly fixed on filling the place vacated by the departure of Ian Blackwell to Durham.