Powerful West Indian opening batsman Chris Gayle has signed as a permanent member of the Royal Challengers Bangalore squad ahead of the 2012 season.
Gayle, who had previously represented the Kolkata Knight Riders, was signed during last season's tournament as a replacement for Dirk Nannes and he helped the Challengers reach the final by scoring more runs than any other player in the competition.
He has now signed to play for the Challengers - who also made the final in 2009 - for the 2012 and 2013 seasons.
"We are delighted to make Chris Gayle a permanent member of our IPL squad. He is one of the best batsmen in the world," Sidhartha Mallya, Director, Royal Challengers Sports Pvt Ltd, said.
"His form helped us qualify for the final of the 2011 edition of the tournament. We are confident that with players like him in our side, we will take the extra step this season, and win our maiden IPL title,”
Gayle, who since the tournament signed deals to play for Somerset, Matebeleland Tuskers and Sydney Thunder, said: “I had a great time representing RCB last year. It is a terrific outfit. The players are brilliant. They are complemented by the support-staff and administrators, all of whom have gone out of their way to make the players comfortable, and give them the freedom to express themselves on the field.
"To me, Bangalore has been a home away from home. I wanted to continue playing for them, and it turned out that they were keen to retain my services. I look forward to returning to namma Bangalore soon."
Gayle has played 91 Tests, 228 One-Day Internationals and 20 Twenty20 Internationals for the West Indies but none since the 2011 World Cup due to a dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board.
© Cricket World 2012