- Renegades boss calls allegations 'opportunistic'
- Comment: What these cases say about our treatment of women
Chris Gayle stands to be thrown out of the Big Bash League for good if an investigation verifies that he exposed himself to an Australian woman who was working around the West Indies team in Sydney last year.
Chris Gayle apologises for comments
Cricket star Chris Gayle apologises for any offence he caused the Channel Ten reporter during their controversial mid-game interview.
The fallout from the Jamaican's sleazy on-air comments to Channel Ten broadcaster Mel McLaughlin continued on Wednesday, with Cricket Australia officials focusing their attention on additional claims, revealed by Fairfax Media, that stem back to last February when the West Indies were in Sydney preparing for the World Cup.
Gayle, it was alleged, was in the dressing room during a training session when the woman walked in to get a sandwich, only for the batsman to pull down the towel he was wrapped in and say: "Are you looking for this?"
Gayle denied the allegation after it was published.
CA officials inquired about the incident during the washed-out fourth day of the third Test at the SCG with West Indies team manager Richie Richardson, who it is understood was told about the claims at the time but did not know which player was involved and therefore dealt with them internally.
Carole Beckford, the WICB communications manager, said from the Caribbean that "no complaint has come to the board regarding anything".
However, it later emerged that as Gayle had been named publicly a report would be filed by Richardson to the West Indies Cricket Board. The 36-year-old does not have a contract with the WICB but if the matter is properly investigated and misconduct is proven it could potentially affect his participation in the ICC World Twenty20 event in India in March.
Gayle's management group, Insignia Sports International, issued a statement on Wednesday, saying: "Chris denies the allegations published by Fairfax Media earlier today. There will be no further comment from Chris or his management at this stage."
In the firing line: Chris Gayle.
The International Cricket Council, meanwhile, distanced itself from any investigation, even though the alleged incident occurred in the days before its showpiece tournament. A spokesman for the game's global governing body indicated from Dubai that its code of conduct for players would be unlikely to cover misconduct outside matches and offered no suggestion that the ICC would look into the allegation at all.
"This a matter for the home board and not for the ICC. As the ICC has not received any complaint, there is nothing for the ICC to
investigate," the spokesman said.
That would appear to leave the matter in the hands of the WICB but it, too, was yet to confirm on Wednesday night if it would open an investigation, or even that the claims had been reported to the board itself.
In Australia, officials are urging that the incident be treated very seriously, in part because it is alleged to have taken place on their turf.
Gayle is unlikely to be seen in the BBL again after this season. He was spoken to about Monday night's televised interview with McLaughlin by BBL manager Anthony Everard, but CA officials have also said privately that his cards are marked, with any further reputational damage to the game here resulting in him not being invited back.
That hardline stance will be applied retrospectively, extending to any behaviour that might have occurred before the McLaughlin interview that subsequently emerges. The result is that if the claims of exposing himself indecently are substantiated to CA's satisfaction, he will be sacked and banned from the tournament, in which he plays for Melbourne Renegades.
The probe into last February's incident came as Renegades chief executive Stuart Coventry claimed the timing of the woman's story had been "opportunistic".
CA chief executive James Sutherland, who was already furious about Gayle's "don't blush baby" comments to McLaughlin, was incensed by the attitude of Coventry, who formerly worked at Crusty Demons and Harness Racing Victoria.
Cricket Victoria, Coventry's employer, later issued a rebuke to Coventry, who had on Tuesday suggested that others had been "utilising" the situation when asked about reports of previous instances of Gayle's inappropriate behaviour.
"Cricket Victoria is committed to demonstrating that our sport respects girls and women and we're working incredibly hard to ensure that is the case," Cricket Victoria chief Tony Dodemaide said.
"We certainly don't condone the reported comments attributed to Stuart this morning and we're looking into it further."
There is also anger behind the scenes among other officials that Gayle was merely fined $10,000 by the Renegades for disrespecting McLaughlin and not suspended.
There is a belief among some senior figures that an opportunity to make a firm statement was missed, given the BBL's positioning as a key driver of female participation and engagement.
There was also frustration conveyed to Fairfax Media that CA did not step in with a more severe penalty itself. However, the make-up of their code of behaviour is such that the most likely outcome of charging him with a breach would have been a reprimand.