Somerset sign Chris Gayle for Twenty20
Somerset have signed West Indies opener Chris Gayle as their overseas player for the 2012 Twenty20 campaign.
Kieron Pollard is unavailable due to the Windies' tour of England, but Gayle is not expected to be involved following a contractual dispute.
"I'm delighted to be heading to Somerset," said Gayle. "Hopefully I can make a key contribution to their T20 campaign this year.
Left-hander Gayle captained West Indies between 2007 and 2010.
With Marcus Trescothick, Craig Kieswetter, Jos Buttler, James Hildreth and Peter Trego in their hard-hitting top order, Gayle's arrival will only help increase Somerset's chances of winning the Twenty20 this summer.
They have finished runners-up in the past two years, qualifying for the Champions League last autumn in India, where they reached the last four.
Gayle, who spent a short spell with Worcestershire in 2005, now has vast experience in Twenty20, having hit almost 3,000 runs at 39.58 in 85 matches, including 195 sixes, as well as taking 47 wickets at 31.19 at an economy rate of 7.47.
Apart from 20 appearances for West Indies, he has also appeared for Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, Western Australia Warriors and Sydney Thunder in the Australian Big Bash, as well as Matabeleland Tuskers in Zimbabwe.
"We are delighted to have been able to sign Chris for this season," said Somerset director of cricket Brian Rose. "He is a tremendously exciting player and one of the people who would get into any world T20 XI.
"Chris is a tremendous all-rounder. His batting is outstanding, he bowls and can open the attack with his off-spinners and he is also a brilliant fielder, so we are absolutely delighted."