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Somerset eager for Gayle's return

Published:Thursday | January 28, 2016 | 1:00 AMLeighton Levy
Gayle

LONDON (CMC):

Somerset officials said they were anxiously anticipating Chris Gayle's appearance in the Twenty20 Blast later this year, after the West Indies batting star signed off on a six-match deal to represent the English county.

The 36-year-old Jamaican had a massive impact when he played in last year's tournament, smashing scores of 92, 151 not out and 85 not out to pile up 328 runs in just three games.

Director of Cricket Matthew Maynard said the club was already looking forward to Gayle's presence.

"We are absolutely delighted to have secured the services of Chris Gayle once again. He is a genuinely world-class player and was absolutely phenomenal for us last year," Maynard said.

"He is probably the biggest name in the sport at the moment and his performances in the Big Bash recently have only underlined his status as one of the most explosive players that cricket has ever seen.

Club chief executive Guy Lavender said what had been even more impressive about Gayle during his stint with Somerset last year was his community involvement and charity work.

This aspect, Lavender pointed out, had been a key factor in extending the relationship with the superstar left-hander.

"Everyone sees the runs that he scores, but not everyone will be aware of his willingness to help off the pitch. It is these two elements which have maintained our desire to ensure that he would be back with us in 2016."

Gayle is arguably the most valued T20 batsman in the international game and is coming off a successful outing in the Australia Big Bash for Melbourne Stars.

His stint for Somerset will run from June 1-17 following his campaign in the Indian Premier League, and Gayle says he is keen on helping Somerset qualify for the advanced rounds of the competition.

"I really enjoyed my time at Somerset last year. It's a great Club and the supporters were absolutely incredible," Gayle said.

"I'm looking forward to seeing the fans again and to scoring some more runs. Hopefully, I can help the club make it through to the later stages of the NatWest T20 Blast."