As someone who has known Chris Gayle for a long time, former Australian Test cricketer Shane Watson was not surprised by the West Indies batsman's inappropriate behaviour and said he was renowned for it.
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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.
Watson suggested Gayle might need to accept his tendency for inappropriate behaviour and lack of "respect" towards a female journalist could mean he won't ever be welcome back in the Big Bash League.
Gayle, who plays for the Melbourne Renegades, continues to draw fire for what was interpreted as an attempt to pick up Network Ten journalist Mel McLaughlin during a live interview and Watson - whose wife Lee Furlong worked as a television sports journalist - said he had definitely crossed a line.
"Yes and no," he replied when asked if it would be a shame if Gayle did not return to the BBL. "In the end, people love the entertainment part of cricket, but there is also a respect and that is also part of playing the game - on and off the field - in the right spirit.
"So, in the end, there is obviously people making the decisions either way but it's not just what you bring on the field, it is what you bring off the field as well which is as important. The people who know Chris Gayle well know those are the sort of things that he can do at times - and at an inappropriate time - and obviously it gets him into a fair bit of trouble. I know Chris Gayle fairly well so that sort of thing is expected."
Gayle was fined $10,000 for his behaviour during the interview with McLaughlin when he said he wanted "just to see your eyes"; "have a drink" before adding when she asked another question "don't blush baby".
However, he made light of the episode in an Instagram message to his followers when dressed in a Playboy T-shirt proclaiming $ex Sells. Gayle wrote: "Pockets are empty so [fellow West Indian] Dwayne's [Bravo] paying the dinner bill tonight ... let's roll DJ,"
"It's going to be interesting to see how people perceive him now after his indiscretion," said Watson ahead of Gayle playing against the Thunder in Sydney on Monday. "There's no doubt people have always loved coming along and watching him play because of the entertainment that he can certainly provide, but there is a line outside the game of cricket as well.
"But people who know Chris Gayle well know that, that is the type of person he can be at times so there are no real surprises from a lot of people."
Gayle has garnered a reputation as a "smooth" dude in world cricket and anyone wanting to defend his action could cite cricket, and the media, as having created the monster by laughing and promoting his egocentric ways. In a column he wrote for Fairfax Media last week Gayle said he regretted he could not sit back and watch himself bat.
Another former Australian player, opener Chris Rogers, was scathing in his assessment of Gayle and described him as a "bad influence" on their younger teammates when they played together for the Sydney Thunder during the BBL's inaugural season.
"I was very wary of the role he was setting for the younger guys, and I spoke to them quite a bit about it. 'Do you think this is good behaviour? Would you do this kind of thing?'," he told ABC Grandstand." And all of them, all the young guys to give them credit were like 'No, we don't think this is right'.
"This is a pattern of behaviour. If you know the guy, you see it over and over."
Watson did not flinch when asked if he was in the same boat as Rogers when it came to Gayle. "Yes," he said. "I have played against Chris for a long time, since I started really, and that behaviour is fairly expected."
Sydney Sixers' batsman Ed Cowan said on Friday that Gayle was the exception in cricket, describing the incident out of the "norm" for Australian cricketers.
"I'm sure most people would agree that he's an outlier when it comes to how he goes about his business on the field and off the field," said Cowan, while promoting the Sixers' popular 'girls night out' for Sunday's match at the SCG, an event that's helped attract more females to cricket.
"The guys I play with are incredibly respectful to everyone that they work with professionally and I think that's the general standard. It was a disappointing incident but I think it's not the norm for an Australian cricketer to behave like that."