Mahela Jayawardene to play alongside Chris Gayle for Somerset in upcoming Natwest T20 Blast

London: English county cricket club Somerset signed Sri Lankan batting legend Mahela Jayawardene on Thursday for their NatWest T20 Blast campaign this summer.

He will feature in 12 of their 14 group games. Jayawardene will now join up with big-hitting West Indian Chris Gayle after he announced his return to the Cooper Associates County Ground earlier in the year as Somerset will boast one of the best batting line-ups in the competition.

The former Sri Lanka captain has had an illustrious career thus far, scoring nearly 12,000 runs in 149 Tests at an average of 49.84 with a career-best of 374.

 Mahela Jayawardene to play alongside Chris Gayle for Somerset in upcoming Natwest T20 Blast

Mahela Jayawardene (right) playing for Sussex Sharks in the 2015 edition of the Natwest T20 Blast. Getty Images

The 38-year-old has also excelled in white-ball cricket, amassing over 12,000 runs in One-Day Internationals as well as holding the record of most runs in the World T20 competition, scoring 1,016 runs in 31 matches.

Director of cricket Matt Maynard felt that the opportunity to sign the batsman was one he could not pass up.

“Mahela is a batsman of undoubted class who scores his runs all around the wicket,” Maynard was quoted as saying by ecb.co.uk.

“When a player of his experience and class becomes available, you have to snap them up. He is an experienced international captain and the squad will certainly benefit from having him around the dressing room.”

“He is a true professional and will have a major influence both on and off the field for us during the NatWest T20 Blast campaign."

"To have the top two run scorers in the history of the ICC World T20 walking out in to the middle at Taunton is something that I hope the Members and supporters will be looking forward to,” Maynard added.

Jayawardene expressed excitement at the opportunity.

“Somerset is a really good club with a long history and I hope that I can help bring success to the county," he said.

"The club has a tradition of successful overseas players and I will be doing my best to join that illustrious list.”

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Updated Date: Mar 31, 2016 17:53:34 IST