SOUTH African fast bowler Vernon Philander — who has had a big impact on the Test scene over the winter — arrived at the County Ground with the clear intent of helping Somerset to get their championship season off to a flying start.

The Cidermen begin their 2012 campaign today (April 5) when they take on visiting Middlesex at Taunton.

Philander has had a phenomenal start to his Test career and is the fastest player to reach 50 wickets in the history of the game — so far claiming 51 victims at an average of 14.15 in seven matches in the space of just over four months.

The 26-year-old said: “The last time I was in England it was a little bit warmer than it is at the moment, but it's good to be here and hopefully I can put in some good performances for Somerset.”

With Alfonso Thomas at the IPL, Philander is likely to share the new ball duties with Steve Kirby.

Director of cricket Brian Rose said: “It's a very exciting prospect for us to have Vernon here at the County Ground because he has had such a momentous five months for South Africa.”

And skipper Marcus Trescothick added: “Vernon has been the form guy in Test cricket and has had an abundance of wickets in every game so far, so hopefully he will carry on with that form for us.”

Somerset's next fixture is a championship game away against Warwickshire starting on April 12.

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