SOMERSET all rounder Arul Suppiah has been granted permanent leave to remain in this country and is now just a year away from getting a British passport.

Suppiah topped 1000 championship runs last year, and this season, sharing the opening slot with skipper Marcus Trescothick, has scored over 600 in the first class game. He has also made invaluable contributions with both bat and ball in CB40 and Twenty20 cricket.

Suppiah has been an impressive performer at all levels of the game since he arrived from Malaysia as a 13 year old, and has played through the Somerset age groups before making his first team debut in 2002. He has also represented England at Under 14,15,16 and 18 levels.

The 26-year-old said: “I got a phone call on Monday from the solicitors telling me what I was hoping to hear. I now have to wait a year from the date this was granted to apply for my British passport, a process which Charl Willoughby has just gone through.

“This is great news because it will then mean that I am English qualified and will be able to play for England and play as a local player, which I am chuffed about and so are the club.”

Somerset Chief Executive Richard Gould said: “Arul has got permanent leave to remain which means that he has the right to remain in this country now. This is not before time and we are delighted that this has been granted.

“In a years time he will be able to apply for a British passport and we are looking forward to that and would assume that would go through okay.”