SOMERSET officials were left fuming after West Indies superstar Chris Gayle announced he would not be joining the county for the 2012 season’s Twenty20 campaign.

After weeks of speculation the Cidermen eventually learned in the week prior to the T20 season starting that the big hitting all rounder was not now going to be with them.

Gayle issued a statement in which he said he would “not be honouring the commitment” he had made to them when he signed a contract.

“I made it clear to them that my decision was made because of my commitment to West Indies cricket and to West Indies cricket fans,” he said.

Somerset County Gazette: Gayle force anger

Then chief executive at the Cooper Associates County Ground, Guy Lavender, said: “We are very disappointed that Chris Gayle will not be joining us, particularly as we had a signed contract and a no objection certificate from the West Indies Cricket Board.”

Director of cricket Brian Rose told BBC Somerset at the time: "It's a disappointment but not unexpected.

"Everything's a risk. You never know if international boards are going to pick players for various series, or even drop them.

"It's no shock to me and it's nothing to do with the player - he's been exceptional with his co-operation. We're happy for him to move on."

The county took legal advice about Gayle’s decision, but decided it would not be in the “best interests of cricket” to pursue the matter further.

Somerset worked fast to find a replacement for Gayle and within hours announced that they had signed South African allrounder Francois du Plessis, 27, as their second overseas player to join up with fellow countryman Albie Morkel.

Despite the drama in 2012, Gayle represented Somerset during the 2015 T20 Blast season.

Despite appearing in just 3 games for the county he contributed 328 runs including a score of 151 not out in a losing cause against Kent.

The knock that came from 62 balls included 15 sixes and remains the highest T20 score at the County Ground Taunton.