Somerset boost batting by signing Aussie Tom

CoopsSomerset have strengthened their batting for 2015 by signing South Australian batsman and Dutch international Tom Cooper for the new season.

The aggressive right-hander was born in Wollongong, New South Wales and has played international cricket for the Netherlands, as well as playing for Australia Under 19s.

In domestic cricket he has represented South Australia since 2008, where he bats at number four. He will join Somerset as an EU passport holder because of his Dutch ancestry on his mother’s side.

He will bolster a Somerset batting line-up, missing the experience of Nick Compton and Alviro Petersen, and likely to be without Craig Kieswetter for much, if not all of the season.

Tom, whose name was put forward by a number of you in The Incider’s exclusive new signings survey last week, has an impressive record in all formats of the game. In his 23 One Day Internationals he has scored 976 runs at an average of 48.80, while in 15 Twenty20 Internationals he has totalled 389 at an average of 32.41.

In all list A cricket he has scored 3,794 runs at 39.52 with six hundreds, including a highest score of 126*.

Matt Tom

Meanwhile, in all first class cricket he has accumulated 2,697 runs in 46 games at an average of 39.56, which includes five centuries and a best of 203 not out.

He also bowls right-arm off-breaks and has 10 first-class wickets to his name, as well as 21 wickets in List A cricket.

Tom said: “I am really very pleased to have signed to play cricket for Somerset in 2015.

“I have always wanted to play county cricket in England and have heard a lot about Somerset so I am looking forward to getting going in April.”

Somerset Director of Cricket Matt Maynard said: “It is really good news that Tom has joined us for this season. He is a highly regarded batsman with a really good track record in all forms of the game and will be a great addition to our squad.”

Later Matt tweeted: “Great to have @tomcooper26 on board at the club. I’m sure he’ll make a difference and be as warmly welcomed as I have.”

SCCC Tom

Tom first came to attention in making 104 for Australian Under-19s against South Africa in the Youth World Cup of 2005/6. He broke into the senior South Australian side in November 2008 and made an immediate impression in limited overs cricket, hitting 53 in his first game against Western Australia at Adelaide and following it up with 101 the following month against New South Wales at Sydney.

However, it was his unbeaten innings of 160 off just 120 balls, while opening the batting for the Prime Minister’s XI against the touring West Indians in 2010, which really made people sit up and take notice. Responding to a huge West Indies total of 399 in 45 overs, Tom made sure his side at least put up a fight as he took the attack to the opposition bowlers, dispatching them for six sixes and 14 fours.

Tom Legside

Later that year, Tom decided to play in the Netherlands, where his mother was born. This family background allowed him to be fast-tracked into the Dutch national side, and he made his one-day international debut against Scotland in Rotterdam in June of that year. He was an immediate success, making half-centuries in each of his first three full one-day internationals. CricInfo records that he added a century in his fifth game and 96 in his seventh – both against Afghanistan – at which point his ODI average stood at a staggering 81.33, admittedly all against Associate opposition. It dropped a little when he encountered Test bowlers, but his current average of 48.80 after 23 matches remains extremely impressive.

Tom AOC

Our verdict: Tom’s signing is a shrewd move by Matt Maynard. As the majority of you said in our survey last week, Somerset need a proven middle order batsman to reinforce a line-up shorn of the experience of Compton, Petersen and Kieswetter. Tom provides experience at state and international level and can bat anywhere in the top six. His signing provides competition for places and he will provide an attacking option in limited overs cricket. We look forward to welcoming ‘Coops’ to the County Ground in April and wish him all the best for the new season.

Tom SCS