Started his career at Warwickshire but found his opportunities limited at Edgbaston and when Dermot Reeve became coach at Taunton in 1997, Burns quickly followed. Forced his way into the side with his hard-hitting batting and useful medium-pace bowling.
In 2001 he hit 221 against Yorkshire at Bath, the highest score by a Somerset batsman at the ground - overtaking Mark Lathwell’s 206 against Surrey in 1994.
Passed 1,000 runs in 2002 and 2003 while assuming the captaincy and when Somerset were relegated from the top flight of the championship in 2003 he offered to stand down, but was persuaded to continue in the position during 2004.
Although not captain for the 2005 season, he was awarded a benefit year. Made nine first class appearances that year before retiring at the end of the season.