London - Former West Indies captain Chris Gayle is to play for Somerset in this season's domestic Twenty20 competition, the English county said on Thursday.
Opening batsman Gayle is one of the most powerful hitters in the game and he has proved especially adept in cricket's shortest format, with his 117 against South Africa in Johannesburg in 2007 the highest individual score in all Twenty20 internationals.
Gayle has also impressed in the Twenty20 Indian Premier League.
The 32-year-old, who bats left-handed but bowls right-arm off-spin, is set to fill the gap caused by the absence of West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard, who will be away on international duty when Somerset look to go one better after losing last season's Twenty20 final to Leicestershire.
Gayle has not played international cricket since last year's World Cup following a row with West Indies Cricket Board officials.
In a Somerset statement, Gayle said: "I am delighted to be heading to Somerset this summer, they are a great club and hopefully I can make a key contribution to their T20 campaign this year."
The west country club's 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.
"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."