It may not be a massive surprise but it is till great news that Chris Gayle will be heading back to the West Country in early June to play for Somerset in six games in the NatWest Blast T20.
The West Indian superstar made a huge impact on-and-off the field in 2015 scoring an amazing 328 runs in his three appearances including 22 fours and an incredible 29 sixes, the joint highest in the competition. Off the field he made many friends, waiting after games for several hours to sign autographs and have his photo taken with the Club’s supporters. His return has created a large amount of excitement.
Gayle himself appeared to enjoy his time at the Club and the hospitality afforded to him by the locals, he said: “I really enjoyed my time at Somerset last year. It’s a great Club and the supporters were absolutely incredible. 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.”
Gayle has already taken to Twitter to show his delight and interact with fans:
Chris Gayle will play his first game in Somerset’s second in the tournament away at Sussex on June 1st. There follows three home games against Essex, Surrey and Glamorgan before he and his team-mates make the short trip up the M5 to Bristol to play old foe Gloucestershire on Friday June 17th before his final game in the qualifying rounds in a home game versus Hampshire.
The matches that he is schedule to play in are as follows:
- Wednesday June 1st – Sussex v Somerset
- Friday June 3rd – Somerset v Essex
- Friday June 10th – Somerset v Surrey
- Wednesday June 15th – Somerset v Glamorgan
- Friday June 17th – Gloucestershire v Somerset
- Sunday June 19th – Somerset v Hampshire
Somerset Director of Cricket Matt Maynard said: “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. 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. Taunton was absolutely rocking when he was out in the middle last year and Somerset fans can look forward to more of the same in 2016.”
Let’s hope the weather is kind and the supporters get to see Gayle in all the scheduled games in 2016. He has clearly identified returning to the play in the latter stages should the county progress beyond the qualifying rounds for the first time since 2012 when Somerset lost in the semi-finals in Cardiff.
It will be interesting to see who Somerset recruit for the final seven games of this qualifiers. Big-hitting Scotsman Michael Leask is being tipped to play for the Club this season but no comment from anyone at Somerset as yet.