Gayle rejects Somerset for Windies tour
Chris Gayle's stand-off with the West Indies Cricket Board could be over after he turned his back on a deal with Somerset in the hope of returning to international cricket.
The big-hitting Jamaican left-hander has not played for his country for more than a year following a spat with the WICB.
But following talks with the board, the 32-year-old has reneged on a contract with Somerset for this season’s Friends Life t20 in a bid to free up his availability for this month’s tour of England.
"I wish to advise that as of today, I have written to Somerset CC and advised them that I will not be honouring the commitment I made to them when I signed a contract with them for the 2012 (FLt20)," Gayle said in a statement.
"I made it clear to them that my decision was made because of my commitment to West Indies cricket and to West Indies cricket fans, and because I believe that it is time for the WICB to make a decision which will provide a clearer view of my own future.
"I understand that by making this decision, it may place me in a position of considerable risk, since I am foregoing a signed contract, without any guarantees whatsoever, with only the hope that I will be selected to play for the West Indies again.
"I have now satisfied all of the requests of the WICB and their selection panel, with whom I met via teleconference yesterday, and to whom I reiterated previous assurances given to the board regarding my availability.
"So that there is no doubt, I confirmed to the selectors that I was available for West Indies duty in all forms of cricket, immediately following the conclusion of my contractual obligations to my IPL franchise, Royal Challengers Bangalore."
Gayle has not played for West Indies since the 2011 World Cup, but he has been in outstanding form in the IPL.
He is third on the tournament's run tally and has scored 81, 87, 4, 86 and 71 from his past five innings.
The West Indies tour of England will begin on May 17 with the first of three Tests, while they are also scheduled to play three one-day internationals starting June 16 and a solitary Twenty20 international eight days later.
Director of cricket Brian Rose confirmed to ecb.co.uk that Somerset have signed South Africa batsman Francois du Plessis as Gayle's replacement.