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Gayle’s stay at Taunton ends with a storm

Chris Gayle poses for photos with Somerset fans one last time. Photograph by Alexander Davidson.
Chris Gayle poses for photos with Somerset fans one last time. Photograph by Alexander Davidson.

A full house at the County Ground were denied one final glimpse of Chris Gayle in action tonight as rain ruined what promised to be an exciting NatWest T20 encounter with Surrey.

The match at Taunton was abandoned without a ball being bowled, with both sides taking one point each.

Gayle spent 20 minutes signing autographs and posing for photographs with his now customary queue of fans before he said farewell to the County Ground. He is leaving ahead of tomorrow’s game with Glamorgan in Cardiff to ensure he is fully fit in time for the Caribbean Premier League.

After this evening’s game was finally abandoned at 7.25pm Matt Maynard said: “It was disappointing for the fans more than anything with another sell out here again tonight.”

Somerset Director of Cricket Matt Maynard
Somerset Director of Cricket Matt Maynard thanked Chris Gayle for his contribution to Somerset. Photograph by Alexander Davidson.

The Somerset Director of Cricket talked about the contribution that the cricketing superstar had made during his short stay in which he has scored 328 runs in just three innings.

Maynard said: “Chris Gayle has had runs in the tournament that most batsmen would be happy to have scored throughout the course of it.

“However I just can’t thank him enough for his contribution to Somerset County Cricket Club in the time that he has been here and he has been a diamond of a bloke and a great ambassador for cricket.”

When asked whether or not Gayle would return for the later stages of the T20 Matt said: “Fingers crossed we get into that position of making the Finals Day and we can have him back here, and he is very open to that idea.”

Umpire Neil Mallender looks up to the sky during an inspection.
Umpire (and former Somerset player) Neil Mallender looks up to the sky during an inspection this evening. Photograph by Alexander Davidson.

Maynard added: “Obviously he has got to know the players more and chatted a lot to them about the game and about his philosophy and it’s amazing just how simple that is.

“It’s something that you can get caught up in and some of the world’s best players do, but actually keep it simple. A lot of better players get confused about what the game is about but it’s just fantastic and very powerful when a player like Chris talks about his game plan and how simple it is.”

Matt said: “It makes even senior players take stock and say ‘wow’ it really is that simple. He has been immense on the pitch he has demonstrated how clear his thinking is and he has been absolutely incredible.”

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Somerset fans making the most of the evening despite the weather. Photograph by Alexander Davidson.

Somerset are in NatWest T20 Blast action again tomorrow afternoon (Saturday) when they travel to Cardiff to take on Glamorgan.

This will be the first match back at Cardiff for former Glamorgan player Jim Allenby since he left the Welsh county at the end of last season.

Allenby, who has made an impression with bat and ball for Somerset during this year’s T20 Blast said: “It’s going to be exciting and I have been looking forward to this game for a long time, in fact ever since the fixtures were published.

“It will be nice to go up there and play in some familiar surroundings against some former team-mates and hopefully we get a dry day, I can put in a good performance and we can get a win as well.”

Somerset's Abdur Rehman, pictured watching the rain fall this evening, has been.
Somerset’s Abdur Rehman, pictured watching the rain fall this evening, has been added to the squad for tomorrow’s game with Glamorgan. Photograph by Alexander Davidson.

Allenby maintained that Somerset still have a strong side even without their West Indian talisman.

Speaking about Gayle, he said: “It’s a shame but we knew he was not going to be around for the whole tournament anyway so I guess our plans to play without him have just had to be brought forward by a week.

“However I have said right from the start that we have got a strong side in the T20 and he has been added to that really and as the best in the world was an added bonus for us. Chris came into the equation pretty late on so I think our side is pretty strong without him.”

Jim added: “Of course no side will be as strong without Chris but the rest of the team will have to lift their game and try to make up for his absence, but this well give somebody else the chance to be the match winner.”

Somerset have added Abdur Rehman to their squad as their second overseas player for the game at Cardiff.

Former Somerset player James Burke on his first return to the County Ground as a Surrey player. Photograph by Alexander Davidson.
Former Somerset player James Burke tonight, on his first return to the County Ground as a Surrey player. Photograph by Alexander Davidson.