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Cricket | International

Gayle open to Windies return



Flamboyant opener Chris Gayle has scrapped his deal with English county Somerset to make himself available for West Indies after ending his year-long dispute with the cricket board.

Gayle has not been part of the West Indies team since his attack on the board in a radio interview in April last year and was not picked in the squad for the three-match test series against England starting on May 17.

The 32-year-old left-hander, currently playing for the Bangalore franchise of the Indian Premier League (IPL), is now eyeing a place in the three one-dayers and a Twenty20 international that follow the England tests.

"I have written to Somerset CC and advised them that I will not be honouring the commitment I made to them when I signed a contract with them for the 2012 Friends Provident Championship," Gayle said in a statement.

"I have now satisfied all of the requests of the WICB (West Indies Cricket Board) and their selection panel... and to whom I reiterated previous assurances given to the board regarding my availability.

"So that there is no doubt, I confirmed to the selectors that I was available for West Indies duty in all forms of cricket, immediately following the conclusion of my contractual obligations to my IPL franchise, Royal Challengers Bangalore."

The IPL is scheduled to finish on May 25 and Gayle will still not be considered for selection for any of the test matches.

Somerset chief executive Guy Lavender told the county website (www.somersetcountycc.co.uk) of their "disappointment" at the news but West Indies coach Ottis Gibson said Gayle's appetite for international cricket had returned.

"Nobody wants to renege on contracts but the honour of representing your country should still be very strong and Chris is realising that," the former England bowling coach told Sky Sports.

Gibson said he hoped Gayle, who is 22nd on the all-time list of most ODI runs with 8 087, would return for the limited-overs matches in June.

"Chris Gayle is our best one-day batsman and the saga that's been going on has been going on far too long," added Gibson.

"He can add real value to our team in terms of runs so we're looking forward to having him. He's dealt with his differences with the board and we just get on with playing cricket."

The tourists are in Brighton for a two-day warm-up match against Sussex starting on Saturday before they head to Northampton for a four-day game with the England Lions from next Thursday.

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