Morkel, Gayle team up in UK
Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer
Cape Town - Roof tiles around Taunton could be in for a fair old battering in the 2012 English county season.
That will at least be the case in the Twenty20 competition, where blasters Chris Gayle and Albie Morkel have joined forces for Somerset.
The county had already clinched the services of West Indian batting crowd-pleaser Gayle - he remains in dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board back home and does not currently play international cricket - for the Friends Life T20, and more recently have confirmed that Proteas all-rounder Morkel is an addition to what increasingly looks a limited-overs “dream team”.
Morkel’s signature for the competition, which runs from June 12 to August 25, comes ironically as a replacement for Titans team-mate Roelof van der Merwe, who turned out for Somerset last year.
Left-arm spinner Van der Merwe, who made unwanted headlines in Australia early on New Year’s Day when he failed a roadside alcohol breath test in Brisbane, where he represented the Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash, has been struggling to get a work permit in England for 2012.
The gap allowed Morkel to sign on the dotted line; he and Gayle are two of the leading overseas attractions in the annual Indian Premier League.
“The combination of Chris Gayle and Albie Morkel is a mouth-watering prospect for our supporters,” Somerset director of cricket Brian Rose was quoted as saying recently.
Morkel recently returned to the Proteas one-day mix after injury problems, and has been selected for both the ODI and T20 squads for away internationals against New Zealand shortly.
South Africa presumably retain first rights to his services; the Proteas play the first of five ODIs on their English tour on August 24, a day before the T20 “finals day”.