SOMERSET director of cricket Andy Hurry is delighted to have retained the services of New Zealand international Corey Anderson for the 2018 Vitality Blast campaign.

The 27-year-old was restricted to just four matches in the 2017 tournament due to injury but showed glimpses of his talent, including 81 from just 45 balls on his debut against Surrey at the Oval.

This time he is available for the duration of the tournament and will hope to play a far greater role.

Speaking to the County Gazette about the signing, Hurry said: “We are very excited about Corey’s return.

“Last year he had a positive effect both on and off the field and he was a great character to have in the dressing room.

“With the bat he can read a situation and adapt accordingly. He is someone who can rebuild and rotate the strike or go on the attack and smash bowlers.

“It is also useful to have his left-arm seam as an option - all the successful T20 teams around the world have a left-arm seamer. Winning matches with the ball in this format comes down to restricting the runs scored and taking wickets, and Corey is capable of both.”

A back injury halted Anderson’s progress last summer, but Hurry is confident the big-hitting batsman will be fit and firing when he arrives in Taunton.

“His recovery is all going to plan, he’s had a successful operation and is back to bowling,” Hurry said.

“He is hoping to play some competitive cricket before the end of the season in New Zealand and should be ready to go when he joins up with us.”

Hurry, who returned to Somerset this winter after three years with the England Development Programme, also stressed the importance of Anderson’s availability for the duration of the tournament.

This is particularly important in light of Somerset’s troubles last year, with Dean Elgar playing in two matches at the end of the tournament and Fakhar Zaman - signed as Anderson’s replacement - recalled by Pakistan before he had even set foot in Taunton.

Hurry said: “Tournaments across the world show that having a consistent group together for a sustained period is crucial for success.

“That is very difficult now with the international calendar and range of T20 tournaments, so it’s great that Corey will be available to influence games for the whole competition.”

There is still the potential for Somerset to add a second overseas player to their T20 ranks, though Hurry was keen to emphasise the quality he believes already exists within the squad.

“We are very confident in the group we’ve got but that option is open going forward,” he said.

“If we were to bring someone in, they would have to be of the right calibre to add something to the squad, but as it stands there is an opportunity for members of this squad to stake their claim for a place.”

Hurry was also full of praise for spin twins Jack Leach and Dom Bess as well as Tom Abell and Roelof van der Merwe, who each signed new contracts last week.

Bess took 5-88 in the second innings of the ongoing third 'Test' between West Indies A and England Lions, though the tourists are 132-6 - 275 runs adrift - and staring down the barrel of a 3-0 whitewash.

Leach has also been among the wickets on the tour - setting a new record in the process - and Hurry said of the 26-year-old: “Leach must be at the front of the selectors’ minds.

“If England find themselves needing to call up a spinner, he is putting in the performances to advance his case.

“I am also pleased for Dom to have had the opportunity to play a red ball game on this tour and the pair of them are doing well.”

On Abell, who will now be at the club until at least 2021, Hurry said: “It’s fantastic to have one of the most exciting young batsmen in the country committing his future to the club.

“He demonstrated his long-term leadership ability last year, and he’s got great potential. 

“If he continues to develop, he can go a very long way in the game and realise his ambition of playing Test and white ball cricket for England.

“Roelof [van der Merwe] has been instrumental for us.

“I was lucky enough to work with him in my first spell here and he continues to have a huge impact. His dynamism is invaluable and he is a match-winner, as he has shown for us in the past.

“There’s a really good vibe around the group and I’m excited to see how that translates itself when the season starts.

“I think we are on the cusp of something special.”