Hard hitting West Indies batsman Chris Gayle will play for Sydney Thunder in Australia's revamped domestic Twenty20 tournament.
The swashbuckling 31 year old, who top scored in the Indian Premier League (IPL) with the Bangalore Royal Challengers earlier this year, was signed immediately after a player contracting window opened on Thursday for the eight team "Big Bash" league.
"I am thrilled to be able to come to Sydney and play for the Thunder," left hander Gayle said on Cricket New South Wales's website (www.cricketnsw.com.au). "Having worked well with John Dyson in the West Indies, I was impressed with his plans for the Thunder and I think the team will have a great chance to win this competition," added Jamaican Gayle, referring to the Australian former West Indies coach and general manager of Thunder.
Gayle had played the last two T20 seasons for Western Australia, but turned down a A$250,000 ($267,000) offer to remain in the state with Perth Scorchers, local media said.
Australia's cricket administrators hope the T20 tournament can replicate the success of the IPL and rejuvenate domestic cricket after years of flagging interest.
The tournament features eight teams based on city identities for the first time in a departure from the state-based format of its first six years. The teams can sign up to two overseas players out of a minimum 14 over the three-week contracting window.