Chris Gayle will get his eye in for December’s Big Bash League in Australia with a surprise stint in Zimbabwe’s domestic Twenty20 competition. And Gayle could also be featuring in English domestic Twenty20 next summer.
Gayle, currently at odds with the West Indies Cricket Board, will use the tournament which begins on November 24 as a warm-up for his engagement with Sydney Thunder. Like Dwayne Bravo and Dirk Nannes, however, he is yet to commit himself to a franchise.
Surprisingly, the Stanbic Bank 20 Series has attracted some of the world’s best talent, with Shaun Tait already committed to the Mid West Rhinos, who are coached by his former South Australia team-mate Jason Gillespie. Veteran Brian Lara played in the 2010-11 version.
Meanwhile, Hampshire, Sussex and Middlesex have all shown interest in recruiting Gayle for their 2012 Friends Life t20 campaigns.
There will be a familiar name amongst the new batch of MCC Young Cricketers for 2012, as Liam Gough takes his first steps in the professional game.
However Gough, who turns 17 on November 24, is not from the same mould as his famous fast-bowling father Darren. More gazelle than rhino, the slimline Gough junior is a batting all-rounder, who bowls off-spin.
The MCC YCs compete in the Second XI Championship and Trophy competitions, with head coach Mark Alleyne’s remit to produce players that will be ready for first XI county cricket at the end of their two-year stints.
Gough was persuaded to sign up for the MCC scheme, from which Twenty20 international Alex Hales graduated in 2007, by his dad – England’s leading wicket-taker in one-day internationals – despite interest from counties.
The teenager, the youngest of next spring’s intake by a margin, is also expected to work on the upkeep of Lord’s, having expressed a keen interest in groundsmanship.
The increase in county cricket’s salary cap to £1.9million for the 2012 season – up £100,000 on 2011 – has been made to incorporate overseas Twenty20 signings for the first time rather than account for inflation.
Previously, counties could pay Friends Life t20 specialists from outside of their annual budgets, but from next year all cricket expenditure has to come from the same pot.
Lancashire are keen on re-signing Junaid Khan as a Twenty20 specialist next summer, although his availability could depend on how he does for Pakistan against England in the new year.
Left-armer Khan, 21, took a dozen wickets in last season’s Friends Life t20 with an economy rate of a paltry 6.0 runs per over.
“Anyone who can bowl 90-mile-per-hour yorkers in that form of the game is going to be dangerous, and you’d have to be interested in people like that,” said coach Peter Moores.
It was a tale of two hundreds in the Ryobi Cup match between New South Wales and Victoria at North Sydney Oval on October 30.
First, former county stalwart Brad Hodge, the most prolific maker of one-day hundreds in Australian domestic history, struck 144 for the Bushrangers, his 20th such score meaning he had scored twice as many as any other batsman.
Then, Daniel Smith made his own assault on the record books as the hosts cantered past their 318-run target with a whopping 50 balls to spare.
Smith’s unbeaten 185, off 123 balls, was the biggest individual score made in the competition and included a record 12 sixes for an innings. Surprisingly, after eight years with the Blues, it was his maiden three-figure score and came despite him not even having a state contract for 2011-12.