Jayasuriya to stand in for Ponting at Somerset

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The Independent Online

Sanath Jayasuriya has agreed a short-term contract with Somerset as a replacement for the Australia captain Ricky Ponting early this summer.

Sanath Jayasuriya has agreed a short-term contract with Somerset as a replacement for the Australia captain Ricky Ponting early this summer.

Somerset have recruited the left-handed batsman because Ponting, who is preparing for the Ashes, has been unable to confirm his availability to return to Taunton this year. The 35-year-old former Sri Lanka captain is expected to be available for five County Championship matches as well as some totesport and C&G Trophy fixtures.

Jayasuriya's contract is scheduled to last until the end of May, when the South Africa captain Graeme Smith is lined up to take over. Somerset's other overseas registration this year will almost certainly be taken up by the West Indies pace bowler Nixon McLean.

Worcestershire have received assurances from the Pakistan Cricket Board that Shoaib Akhtar will be available for the entire second half of the summer. He is due to link up with Worcestershire on 1 July and will remain at New Road until mid-September even if his country decides to organise any internationals not currently part of the calendar.

* Lancashire are set to announce a record annual profit of £557,000 this weekend.

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