St Lucia Zouks have signed Chris Gayle for the 2020 season of the Caribbean Premier League after Jamaica Tallawahs released him.
Gayle, T20 cricket's leading run-scorer, was re-signed by the Tallawahs in 2019 after having served with St Kitts and Nevis Patriots for two editions of the league.
He slammed a stunning century in just his second game last season before experiencing a form slump and failed to repeat his heroics with the bat. Although his side finished at the bottom of the points table, he sits atop the list of highest run-scorers in the tournament's history with 2,344 runs under his belt.
While a cloud of uncertainty hovers over the future of Gayle's appearances on the international stage, he remains a permanent presence in franchise-based competitions around the globe.
Gayle's move to the Zouks comes in the aftermath of the club's acquisition by KPH Dream Cricket Private Limited, the entity which owns Kings XI Punjab.
The Caribbean veteran's inclusion in the side was welcomed by Zouks skipper Daren Sammy, who felt it was a great opportunity for the team's youngsters to learn from one of the most destructive batsmen.
“This is great news for St Lucia Zouks and for me as a captain to have the universe boss on my side. Chris is one of the most successful T20 batsmen in the world and with his experience with our young openers, a lot can be learnt from Chris," Sammy said.
“I welcome him to the Zouks Franchise. Chris will be in St Lucia and the fans will be happy and the fact that Jamaica has released him. I will have a motivated Chris Gayle looking to prove a point that he is one of the leading T20 batsmen in the world. I can’t wait for CPL 2020 and hopefully, the coronavirus will be under control and we can have an exciting T20 tournament. Welcome home, Chris Gayle!”
Zouks' newly appointed coach Andy Flower commented: “It’s brilliant news that we have been able to get Chris Gayle with us at this year’s CPL 2020. I have got a long association with Chris running all the way back to his debut Test match in Trinidad back in 2000."
"I’ve seen his exploits in all three forms of the game and I am really looking forward to working with him and Daren Sammy toward a special year for St Lucia cricket.”
The CPL is scheduled to commence on August 19, though the coronavirus pandemic has threatened to disrupt plans. With the Indian Premier League and several international series having already been postponed, the CPL authorities are examining the ongoing developments and working on contingency strategies if required.