Somerset have cancelled the contract of former South Africa seamer Vernon Philander by mutual agreement because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Philander, whose record of 224 wickets in 64 Tests at an average of 22.32 marks him out as one of the finest bowlers in the current era, retired from international duty last winter and signed a Kolpak deal with Somerset.
However, the English domestic season will be shortened if there can be any action at all because of the public health crisis, which has led to professional cricket being shut down until July 1 at the earliest.
Philander has therefore consented to the termination of his deal although Somerset director of cricket Andy Hurry opened the door for the 34-year-old to return to Taunton in the future.
“These are clearly very uncertain and challenging times for all counties with no cricket until at least 1 July and the likelihood of a condensed and truncated season,” Hurry said on Somerset’s website.
“It was such an exciting prospect to visualise Vernon returning to the Cooper Associates County Ground, but given the current uncertainty the cancellation of his contract was a prudent and sensible decision.
“I would like to thank Vernon and his management team for their understanding of the current situation and we hope one day to see Vernon back wearing Somerset colours.”