BABAR Azam is to return to Somerset in 2020.

The Pakistan star, ranked number one in the world IT20 rankings, made himself a firm favourite among the Somerset faithful in 2019 with 578 runs in 12 Vitality Blast matches, including 102 not out against Hampshire.

Babar formed a prolific partnership with Tom Banton at the top of the order and the pair will be reunited again this summer, with Babar available for 12 Blast matches and two County Championship games between May 29 and July 3.

Somerset Director of Cricket, Andy Hurry said: “Babar Azam is the best IT20 batsman in the world and his return will be a major boost for us.

"He played a significant role for us in the Vitality Blast last year and his stats speak for themselves.

“He made a number of match winning contributions and he fitted seamlessly into the dressing room. You can’t ask more from your overseas players than that.

“His batting is so easy on the eye and he is so hungry to evolve his game. He will add significant value to the team, both with his batting and leadership.”

“He was extremely popular with our Members and supporters but also with our playing squad. He is a truly world class talent and we look forward to working with him again in 2020 in both the Vitality Blast and the County Championship.”

Babar Azam said: “I really enjoyed my time at Somerset, and I look forward to coming back next year.

"Somerset has a very good squad and the supporters made me feel very welcome. Hopefully I can help the club reach the knock-out stages of the Vitality Blast and contribute to winning matches in the County Championship.”