Somerset CCC: Brian Rose considers shortlist if Gayle opts out
BRIAN Rose has a shortlist of "two or three players" he could approach if Chris Gayle opts against joining Somerset this summer.
But the director of cricket admits those on his radar are all "different types of player" to the big-hitting West Indian opener, pictured.
Somerset's Friends Life t20 campaign opens against Warwickshire at Taunton six weeks today – but last season's runners-up still do not know whether their star overseas signing will be available. He has held talks with the West Indies Cricket Board over ending his international exile during the forthcoming series with England, which includes three one-day internationals that clash with the domestic Twenty20.
The most recent reports from the Caribbean have thrown doubt over Gayle's involvement in the ODI series with England, raising hope at Taunton that he may turn out for Somerset after all.
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But Rose, who believes a final decision is "imminent", has started making alternative plans by looking at which players he could draft in if Gayle decides to forego his Somerset contract and return to the international stage.
"From my end, there is no new information, because it is between the West Indies board and Chris Gayle," said Rose.
"We have got a contract with Chris and an NOC (no-objection certificate), but we are still waiting to find out whether he is coming to us or if he has agreed to play for the West Indies.
"We have heard over the last two days that his return to the West Indies side may have hit some problems, but we do not yet know either way. I would, however, say a decision was imminent – I would expect to know within the next 48 hours."
Rose, who has contacts all over the world, has contingency plans lined up – although suggested any replacement for Gayle may be more similar in style to Roelof van der Merwe, who had a successful stint at Taunton last year, than the Jamaican opener.
"If Chris doesn't come, we wouldn't get the same sort of player – and I am not looking for the same sort of player," said Rose.
"If he doesn't come, we are looking at a different type of player, perhaps someone like Roelof, who did a great job for us in the Champions League. There are two or three names I am looking at to maybe come here if Chris doesn't come."
Van der Merwe's hopes of returning to Somerset this summer have been thwarted by work permit problems – and Rose confirmed there was "no chance – none at all" that the South African could arrive via a last-minute loophole.
Somerset's scheduled Second XI Trophy game against Surrey at Reigate yesterday was washed out. Somerset had planned to field a host of first-team regulars ahead of Friday's CB40 opener at The Oval.