Roelof van der Merwe, who made quite an impact back in 2011 when he played in a number of T20 matches for Somerset, has returned to Taunton and this season will be playing in all formats.
Sitting at the top of a very cold Somerset Pavilion, looking out across the Cooper Associates County Ground the 31 year old said: “It’s great to be back in Taunton after a few years away. Things have changed quite a bit and the new pavilion has been built, but the ground is still the same. Last time I was here I had a good trip and played some decent cricket. The rain interfered with us a bit but at least it didn’t stop us getting through to the T20 Finals, so I am excited to be back here.”
The Dutch all rounder only played five T20 matches during that summer and then departed from Somerset, but he joined up with the team again to play in the Champions League in India where he helped them reach the semi finals. Reagrding that experience he said: “Going to the sub continent is always an experience and to be able to do it with Somerset was a great journey and we almost pulled it off. Falling out in the semi finals was a pity but it was a great time.”
Roelof has a reputation for being a big hitter himself so how does he feel about the prospect of playing alongside Chris Gayle? “We played against Chris in that run out in Inida when we beat Bangalore who he was playing for,” he said. “When you pitch up at a ground and you have to bowl at him its quite a frightening experience so I’m lucky I wont have to bowl at him this season. Chris is an amazing striker of the ball and it will be good playing with him.”
The Dutch international is here for the whole of the 2016 season and for the first time will be playing in the Specsavers County Championship.
“I have thought about coming back to play Championship cricket for a long time,” he said. “I’ve heard it’s a lengthy and intense season, but I’m looking forward to contributing to Somerset.”
Talking about the Club’s new four-day skipper, Roelof said: “Chris Rogers is an unbelievable player, just how he played for Australia and the way he goes about things, he is definitely going to give the rest of the batting order a vote of confidence. It will be so easy to play behind him.”
What was Roelof hoping to bring to Somerset in 2016? “Hopefully I can bring a lot of runs, a lot of wickets and a catch here and there as well,” he said. “Last time I was here the crowd was really positive and made me feel at home ad over the years people have told me I should come back, and now it really is good to be back and I hope I can give the crowd something to cheer about.”