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Gayle, Warner sign with Sydney Thunder

ESPNcricinfo staff

June 29, 2011

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Chris Gayle launches a six, Western Australia v South Australia, Twenty20 Big Bash, Perth, January 13, 2011
After two seasons with Western Australia, Chris Gayle is heading to the Sydney Thunder © Getty Images

Chris Gayle and David Warner will form a dream opening partnership for the Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League after Gayle knocked back a $250,000 offer from the Perth Scorchers. The Thunder, based at ANZ Stadium, were the fastest out of the blocks after the contract window opened at 9am on Thursday, confirming both major signings within the opening hour.

"There is no doubt that signing Chris Gayle is a massive boost for the Thunder," the team's general manager, John Dyson, said. "Having worked with him when I was coach of the West Indies, I know that he brings a stack of experience and the sort of match-winning ability that only a few players have. To have an opening partnership of Chris Gayle and David Warner is something that all cricket fans should be excited about."

"[Warner] is a match-winner. David has a great track record at ANZ Stadium and we think he represents what the Thunder is all about: passion and excitement. We look forward to him thrilling Thunder fans with his hitting this summer."

Gayle has spent the past two summers with Western Australia in the Big Bash, but turned down the chance to return to Perth with the Scorchers. He said he was thrilled be heading for Sydney to resume his working relationship with Dyson.

"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," Gayle said. "I have good memories of playing at ANZ Stadium and I look forward to walking out to open the batting with David Warner when the season starts."

Each of the eight city-based sides has a $1 million salary cap and must sign 18 players, the first 14 of whom must be confirmed over the next three weeks. The brutal combination of Gayle and Warner will make an enormous dent in the Thunder's budget, given the hefty price-tag that Gayle rejected from the Scorchers.

"There is no doubt that Chris is one of the most dangerous Twenty20 players in world cricket and it would have been great to have him on board with the Scorchers," Mickey Arthur, the Scorchers coach, said. "But there are limitations within the salary cap and securing one player but running the risk of losing talented young players in the process is simply not an option when you are trying to build a team from scratch.

"We have made the decision to invest in our local stars, whilst also entering the market for two outstanding international recruits. We are very confident we have the mix right and look forward to making several exciting announcements in the coming days."

Each team can sign up to two overseas stars, although there is room to replace a player who has to leave due to international commitments, so more than two could be rotated during the tournament. The other early signing on Thursday came from the Brisbane Heat, who confirmed the fast bowler Ryan Harris would be part of their squad.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by hyclass on (July 2, 2011, 7:59 GMT)

For overseas bloggers who have never been to australia,id like to put the BBL in perpective.We have around 22 million people and only 5 million each in our two main cities.Australia supports many other sporting codes and internationally recognised tournaments including,soccer,australian rules football,rugby league and union,tennis,golf,formula one,v8 supercars,surfing,basketball,netball, moto GP and Superbike racing-apologies to those i missed.We already have state 20/20,oneday and 4 day cricket and international test and one day cricket.The sponsors and the public have big calls on their resources at a time when people are more focused on value for money than ever before.The BBL is poorly financed, rushed,usurps state body power and other than a handful of well paid name players,offers little of value to anyone.It alienates traditional audiences and places tests 3rd behind oneday & T20.It is owned by pay tv as is the Aust.A tour.Radio coverage and highlights packages have evaporated.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2011, 9:43 GMT)

Indians should play in the BBL !!!! get more exposure to australian conditions !! BCCI take NOTE !!!!

Posted by Sohellcc on (July 1, 2011, 7:41 GMT)

i think BBL will be a quality cricket event not paisa event. some event taking about million, but nobody can get that amount bcoz their rules & terms.

Posted by   on (July 1, 2011, 7:20 GMT)

any idea on which channel it'll be broadcast in india?

Posted by redneck on (July 1, 2011, 6:00 GMT)

@SFay here, here! i just hope this comp doesnt set us back furthur in test cricket!!!

Posted by Prashant_Dhamija on (July 1, 2011, 5:27 GMT)

Would love to see these two batting together. They can cause huge destruction as far as scoring runs is concerned

Posted by   on (July 1, 2011, 4:22 GMT)

That's a dream opening pair with a demolishing capacity :)

Posted by Stevo_ on (July 1, 2011, 0:56 GMT)

"Question: who are the top 5 20/20 players in the world? "

I'll answer your question with a question : Who cares ?

Posted by tick on (June 30, 2011, 21:42 GMT)

@ indians why are you so nervous about bbl...if it flops so what???does it cost you any thing...@blokker afridi was the reason south australia made improvements in t20 competition...afridi along with pollard were instrumental in achieving south australia 's ticket to champs league...look at friends pro t20...afridi gave 2 consecutive match inning performances for hampshire....ajmal bowled 3 wicket maiden last over in t20 for worester,similarly raazaq for leistershire,riaz for kent,gul and rana for sussex,azhar mehmood for kent ((do you know its county cricket))etc...all are giving match winning dont be mad at bbl or afridi or pakistani depends on teams of bbl who they sign or not...if they are not good enough or afridi is not good enough they will not be simple..........chill man...

Posted by   on (June 30, 2011, 20:29 GMT)

I would have Chris in any team i captained !

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