SOMERSET have snapped up Australian international Matthew Wade for the first seven County Championship matches of the 2020 season.

Wade, 31, has played 30 Test matches for his country - including all five in the 2019 Ashes series, in which he scored 337 runs including 117 at the Kia Oval.

In First Class cricket, he has scored nearly 8,000 runs at an average of 41.25.

Wade will be available for Somerset from the opening game of the Championship season, against Warwickshire in Taunton on April 12, and will take part in the first seven matches subject to the club obtaining the No Objection Certificate and the appropriate visa.

Somerset director of cricket Andy Hurry said: “When you’re signing an overseas player, there are a number of criteria that you need to think about.

"You want your overseas to be a world class performer, but you also need to look at what they will bring off the field.

"You want someone who is a leader on the pitch and someone who buys in to the Club ethos. Matthew Wade will tick every single box.

“He is a world class performer, he is extremely driven and he is a leader. He has vast experience and has captained Tasmania as well as leading Victoria to two Sheffield Shields.

“He was outstanding for Australia this summer with the bat and his record speaks for itself. We are delighted to have secured a player of his calibre for our opening seven County Championship matches of 2020.”

Wade said: “It’s an exciting challenge and one that I’m looking forward to.

"I got a good taste of English conditions last summer and it’ll be good to come back over and to hopefully contribute to Somerset winning matches in the County Championship.

“Somerset have got a excellent squad and I’m looking forward to meeting up with the guys and to getting out on the pitch with them.

“I’m told that Somerset have a bit of a history of Australian players doing well for the Club, so hopefully I can add my name to that list.”