LONDON: West Indies star Chris Gayle said Friday he was the victim of “double standards” after sparking a sexism row with comments he made to a female television reporter in Australia.
Gayle, 36, came under fire for asking Australian broadcaster Mel McLaughlin out on a date in a live television interview during a Big Bash Twenty20 game in January.
“I wanted to see your eyes for the first time, hopefully we can win this game and then we can have a drink after as well,” said opening batsman Gayle, before adding: “Don’t blush, baby.”
Gayle was widely criticised by players past and present for his remarks, as well as by Cricket Australia.
The Melbourne Renegades franchise fined him 10,000 Australian dollars ($7,400) and decided against renewing his contract.
He fanned the flames further with the recent publication of his autobiography and in an interview last month with a female journalist in The Times magazine.
In the article, the Jamaican boasted of his “very, very big bat”.
He also asked journalist Charlotte Edwardes if she had ever “had” a black man and been in a threesome.
Gayle remains one of the biggest draw cards in world cricket and has just started a stint with Somerset in English cricket’s domestic T20 Blast event, having enjoyed a successful spell with the southwest county in 2015.
– ‘Mockery’ –
But what he sees as a rejection by Australian cricket still stings, with Gayle feeling his contribution in helping launch the Big Bash has been ignored.
“I didn’t feel like I was being treated right at that particular time,” he said in an interview with the BBC World Service’s Stumped programme, extracts of which were published Friday ahead of Saturday’s broadcast.
“The way of going about it… and the media making a big mockery out of it.
“To go into details, it was straight up just a lot of double standards.
“That story didn’t get me down one bit. It didn’t affect me, I must say. It was just ridiculous how they go about it — trying to use me as a big scapegoat.”
He added: “For someone being part of the Big Bash for so many years, who actually built the Big Bash from day one, the same name they used to build the Big Bash is the same name they want to tarnish.
“The Chris Gayle from the first season, if you check it, it was Chris Gayle who started that Big Bash and it blew up this big now — and next they want to say, ‘you should ban Chris Gayle… you should get rid of Chris Gayle from all leagues around the world… Chris is sexist’.
“You can’t brand me for running a joke like that, it’s just unfortunate and people have their agenda against other people as well.”
Gayle, a World Twenty20 winner with the West Indies this year, fell for five on his Somerset return against Sussex on Wednesday.
His World Service interview was conducted by British sports broadcaster Alison Mitchell.
“For those asking, Gayle was engaging, interesting, both good humoured & serious – and nervous about a female interviewer,” she tweeted Friday.
“Gayle was prepared to ans (answer) all Qs (questions), and was generous with his time,” Mitchell added.
“There is more to him than his partying reputation.”