Former West Indies cricket captain Chris Gayle, was expected to jet in to the country last night to feature in the Stanbic Twenty20 (T20) competition starting at Harare Sports Club on Friday.
Gayle (31) has already signed for Matabeleland Tuskers and is expected to feature when they play defending champions Mashonaland Eagles in their first match on Friday.
The West Indies star batsman is involved in a protracted dispute with the West Indies Cricket board, but they recently granted him a “No Objection Certificate” to bring his talents to Africa.
Matabeleland Tuskers chief executive officer Stanley Staddon confirmed Gayle’s signing and that of Sussex’s Tom Smith who joined the rest of the squad over the weekend.
“Yes, Chris Gayle has signed for Tuskers and he will be arriving tonight (last night) before joining us on Wednesday (tomorrow) when we arrive in Harare soon after our match against Kenya. We also have Tom Smith who joined us from England over the weekend.
“Gayle is a proven world-class player of immense talent and he is currently at the prime of his career, so to have him in our team is something special.
Obviously with a quality player like Gayle combined with the players we already have, our target will be to win the tournament,” said Staddon.
Gayle could hardly contain his excitement after the deal to bring him here was concluded on Sunday as he immediately made his followers know on the social networking site Twitter. “Not sleeping tonight . . .
Off to Zimbabwe tomorrow for T20! So you know what time it is in Jamaica tonight . . .,” he posted on Sunday.
Gayle has not played for West Indies since the World Cup in March.
The board issued a statement last month saying the batsman would be considered for West Indies selection again only if he retracted statements about the board and their officials.