Zimbabwe franchises eye T20 stars

Chris Gayle blitzed 26 off 15 balls Associated Press

Zimbabwe's domestic franchises are apparently eyeing up a slew of Twenty20 superstars for the upcoming edition of the Stanbic Bank 20 Series. According to reports in local newspapers, Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Dirk Nannes are three more players who could join Shaun Tait in signing short-term overseas contracts for the tournament, which begins on November 24.

Tait has agreed to play for Mid West Rhinos, who are coached by former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie, but Gayle, Bravo and Nannes are yet to agree terms with any team. Southern Rocks, who have lost the services of Craig Ervine, Sikandar Raza and Elton Chigumbura this season, have expressed an interest in Gayle.

"We are interested in him," Rocks chief executive Givemore Makoni said of Gayle. "We know he is the best batsman in this format of the game and he has a lot of experience. We are going to do everything to get him.

"We need a batsman and if we add him to our squad, we will be in a good position to win the tournament. We are looking forward to his arrival and have already spoken to him."

Tuskers coach Dave Houghton also confirmed his franchise's interest in Gayle, saying: "We are looking to sign one more batsman, but it's up to the organisers. We will see what happens, we have a lot of players playing for the national team."

Alastair Campbell, who recently resigned his post as national selector to concentrate on his role in the country's cricket committee, said that the players were still waiting for their respective boards' approval before any contracts could be signed.

"There will be quite a fight for the players, but we will decide on where each player will be allocated depending on each team's requirements," added Campbell. "We want all franchises to be strong and competitive."