Somerset have signed former West Indies captain Chris Gayle for this year's Friends Life T20 campaign.

29934 - Chris Gayle signs for Somerset

Gayle had been in talks with Middle+++ but the county decided to pursue their interest in an overseas fast bowler instead.

Gayle, 32, has an exceptional T20 record. Not only has he made the highest score in international T20 cricket, 117 against South Africa in September 2007, but he is also the only man to have made five T20 centuries. He also shares the record for the quickest international T20 hundred with Brendon McCullum. Both men reached the landmark in just 50 balls.

Gayle will replace Kieron Pollard as one of Somerset's overseas players. Pollard is expected to be on international duty on West Indies tour of England but Gayle, having fallen out with the West Indies board, is unlikely to be selected. He will strengthen an already daunting Somerset batting line-up that also includes Craig Kieswetter, Marcus Trescothick, Peter Trego, Roelof van der Merwe and James Hildreth.

Gayle will hope to take Somerset one better in the FLT20. They have been losing finalists in the last three seasons.

"I am delighted to be heading to Somerset this summer," said Gayle. "They are a great club and hopefully I can make a key contribution to their T20 campaign this year."

Somerset director of cricket Brian Rose added: "Chris is a tremendously exciting player and one of the people who would get into any World T20 XI.

"He 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."