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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 October, 2003, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
Ponting joins Somerset
Ricky Ponting
Ponting led Australia to World Cup glory earlier this year
World Cup winner Ricky Ponting has agreed a deal to play county cricket for Somerset in 2004.

The Australia one-day captain will only be available from mid-July to the end of August but the club believe he can excite the interest of spectators.

"We hope he will sprinkle a bit of magic down here at Taunton," said chief executive Peter Anderson.

"We were looking to sign a high-profile player and he's obviously one of the leading batsmen in the world."

Ponting's signing comes as Somerset look to freshen up their squad following a disappointing 2003 campaign, which saw them finish seventh in Championship Division Two and next to bottom in the National League.

His recruitment is a throwback to the club's glory days of the late 1970s and early 1980s when Viv Richards pulled in the crowds at the County Ground.

Ponting has scored 4,856 runs in 69 Tests at an average of 51 and 6,325 in limited overs internationals.

Somerset celebrate at Lord's
Somerset last tasted success in the 2001 C&G Trophy

He took over the one-day captaincy from Steve Waugh last year - Waugh had a spell with Somerset in 1988 - and has won 37 of his 47 matches so far.

The highlight was Australia's 125-run win over India in the World Cup final, a match in which he scored an unbeaten 140 off 121 balls.

"Taunton's reputation as a good batting track would probably be a factor that would make him decide to come here," Anderson added.

Ponting will share one overseas player slot with fellow Tasmanian Jamie Cox, who will take over when he has international commitments.

The other will be filled by West Indian paceman Nixon McLean, who was Somerset's leading bowler this summer with 62 Championship wickets.




SOMERSET


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