‘King‘ Chris Henry Gayle has all the answers.
Speaking to Donald McRae of the Guardian, the West Indian blaster defended his recent outrageous behaviour and comments in his inimitable blunt Caribbean cadence.
The Jamaican first reminded the journalist of his proud heritage and that West Indians always felt disrespected by the English. The reference was to Mark Nicholas’ stunning dismissal of their T20 prospects, ““The West Indies are short of brains.”
In a statement with shades reminiscent of the movie, Fire In Babylon, Gayle said:
“That drove us even harder. How can you disrespect the West Indies when we were so dominant in world cricket for so long? We have to face it ourselves because our own board don’t defend us. So we have to fight our own war in the middle against these allegations about West Indies having no brains. How can you jump to that conclusion? It shows no respect. They smile at you – while trying to destroy you in the media.
We were very disappointed. We should have been one of the favourites but we weren’t even in the top five. As West Indians we have always been disrespected. As soon as we fight back they make it look like we are the bad one in the media. We’ve experienced these things over the years. So it’s no surprise.”
But it’s his autobiography Six Machine that’s hitting all the right (and wrong) notes across the world with excerpts published in most major newspapers.
From describing his triple hundreds, his mammoth 170+ in the IPL and staying at Vijay Mallya’s Goa bungalow, the memoirs cover it all. The voice is authentic and the style is no-holds-barred.
Chris Gayle reveals how his fledgling career was tended to by a woman.
He writes of his Kingston schoolteacher and first coach:
“Miss Hamilton is a wonderful woman. She kickstarted things and gave me that self‑belief. Most of the time, as a kid, you’re nervous. She would try to get in your head and give you confidence. She was also our football coach – so she was very talented and to have a woman lead you at a young age was really good.”
But Chris feels nothing about disrespecting Mel McLaughlin in January this year at the Big Bash.
His latest words on the sorry episode are even more dismissive.
“If she was upset she would’ve said it. At no stage did she say she felt offended by me. Then they wanted an apology and she came on air and said: ‘He’s apologised – so let it go everybody.’ You could tell she had been forced to say those things. Trust me. She’s of West Indian background. She knows the culture. From what I understand her mom is black. What do they call it? Samosa (Samoan)?
Yeah. So she knows. But people put things in her ears – just to slaughter Chris Gayle.”
Chris Gayle is remarkably insouciant and , perhaps, realistic when asked what if his baby daughter Blush were to face the same kind of behaviour 25 years on in a journalistic career.
“If you put yourself there you have to expect that. You have to deal with it. Not all situations are going to be the best. You have to brace yourself. You have to be professional, yes, but expect the unexpected at all times.It could happen to anybody. Anybody. It could happen again.”
Chris then accuses Charlotte Edwards of setting him up as a villain in her piece for the Times and threatens legal action.
“The first interview I did by the pool. The recorder was on the table. The interview lasted 2½ hours. Basically discussing the book, it went according to plan. But the outcome was very sad. That’s why I say people can’t be trusted – especially you guys.
I know. Obviously she came with a different mentality. Even that first interview I did with her she was trying to get me to say things about Shane Warne. I said: ‘Listen, this is not about Shane Warne.’ So the interview was good even if she didn’t get what she wanted.
I was having dinner by the bar when the agent texted. She’s leaving in the morning and wants to say thanks for the interview. I said: ‘OK, no problem.’ She came by and that’s how it happened. She started telling me her life story. She tried to ask me if I’d ever smoked weed. I said: ‘Listen, I’m a sportsman, how can I do those things?’ So whatever questions she asked me I asked her back. She went on to say she is a single mum. She had also been to a war [zone] and she was telling me that when all the media people come to drink they sleep together. I asked her: ‘Did you do it?’ And she said: ‘No.’ It’s not an interview – we’re talking at the bar. If she had a tape I wish people could hear it.
In the interview’s first line she says Mel didn’t get the chance to have a drink with Chris Gayle – but she did. That was her agenda. She put these things out to make me look like the bad one. She got the attention but I’m going to speak to my legal team.”
If Gayle’s version of the story is true, then it’s understandable why most sports stars prefer to be tight-lipped to the press rather than drop their guard and make off-the-cuff remarks. Every word could be misconstrued and twisted. And if Gayle’s infamous remarks to Edwards were off-the-record, then she is in serious breach of journalistic integrity. Neither party comes out smelling like roses.
“There can be no trust”, Chris Gayle says in his life story.
“There’s no sadness in saying that. It’s the reality. You can’t put trust in people. There’s no loyalty out there. You have to be sceptical – regardless of what that person says.”
Gayle’s account, however, of his relationship with his girlfriend cannot elicit much sympathy.
“I am the Six Machine. I am the only man in the history of the world to have scored two triple centuries etc. I am the only cricketer in the history of the world to have his own pole-dancing room in his house. I have a girl. I can’t remember her name. We’ve been together for nine years. Though mostly it probably sounds as if we’ve been apart. She doesn’t like World Boss’s pole-dancing room. But luckily loads of other women do. So it hasn’t been a total waste of money.”
Chris Gayle will make news wherever he goes as long he’s scoring runs—not women.
They’re merely sideshows in his grand design of things—in his “World Baass. Universe Baass. Multiverse Baass.”
That’s the uncomfortable truth and he expects the people in his life and the world at large to live with it.
Is that sad or great? You tell me.
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) consists of 15 Caribbean nations and their dependencies.
Caricom’s main purpose is to promote economic integration and cooperation among its members, to ensure that the benefits of integration are equitably shared, and to coordinate foreign policy. It is also a regional single market for most of its members.
The West Indies Cricket Board has six member associations:
Barbados Cricket Association (BCA)
Guyana Cricket Board (GCB)
Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA)
Trinidad & Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB)
Leeward Islands Cricket Association (LICA), itself composed of:
Anguilla Cricket Association
Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association
British Virgin Islands Cricket Association
Montserrat Cricket Association
Nevis Cricket Association (for the island of Nevis alone)
St. Kitts Cricket Association (for the island of St. Kitts alone)
St. Maarten Cricket Association
United States Virgin Islands Cricket Association
Windward Islands Cricket Board of Control (WICBC), itself composed of:
Dominica Cricket Association
Grenada Cricket Association
St. Lucia Cricket Association
St. Vincent & the Grenadines Cricket Association
The Caricom Cricket Review Panel was constituted by the Prime Ministerial Committee on the Governance of West Indies Cricket.
The members were:
Prof. Eudine Barriteau, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal, The University of the West Indies.
(Cricket Studies is an academic discipline internationally and in the Caribbean, at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.)
Rt. Hon. Sir Dennis Byron, President, Caribbean Court of Justice.
Dr. Warren Smith, President, Caribbean Development Bank.
Mr. Deryck Murray, West Indies Cricket Legend.
Mr. Dwain Gill, President, Grenada Cricket Association.
The West Indian Cricket Board (WICB) publishes its Vision as:
To establish and sustain West Indies cricket as the sporting symbol of the West Indies, and the West Indies team as the dominant team in international cricket.
and its Mission is:
To develop and promote West Indies cricket for the benefit and enjoyment of the West Indian people, its clients and other stakeholders by procuring a consistently high-quality, successful and international West Indian product.
The Caricom Cricket Review panel criticises the existing governance structure of the WICB which focuses solely on the shareholders in the body namely the six territorial boards and the WICB itself.
Other stakeholders such as “several Caribbean governments who finance the construction and maintenance of the stadia where the game is played; several important industries such as tourism, aviation and food and beverages; former players, some of whom constitute an elite group of exemplary ambassadors of the game known as the Legends and the current players, both women and men, and their representative organization, the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) constitute another key group of stakeholders and finally, the Caribbean public” have been either side-lined or completely ignored.
West Indies cricket is a public good.
Interestingly, the panel states that “it has no issues with the individuals who occupy the leadership and composition of the WICB or the territorial Boards” and then commences an unbridled assault on the current Board and its state of affairs. The above statement appears redundant. Why make such a statement? The Cricket Review Panel was formed to investigate the current workings of the existing system and recommend reforms that would help better the state of Windies cricket. Why even bother to try and mollify the current incumbents?
The panel also terms the current governance structure “obsolete”.
It then recommends the dissolution of the WICB and the appointment of an interim board.
Panel members cite the precedent of an interim board appointed by the Sri Lankan government to run matters. What has been conveniently omitted is the fact that Sri Lankan cricket has often been run by government-appointed interim committees one of which left the Board financially crippled after the co-hosting of the 2011 ODI World Cup.
The antecedent, one hopes, only pertains to the feasibility of such an imposition and not mismanagement by the interim board.
The panel then points out the lowly ranking of men’s and women’s cricket teams to justify their indictment of the WICB’s bad governance.
The men’s team failed to qualify for the 2017 Champions’ Trophy, the first time in West Indian cricketing history that the side will not be participating in a World tournament. Other reasons listed are the team’s Test ranking—sliding to number eight, recent abandoning of the Indian tour, suspension of coach Phil Simmons following his stated despair about not being able to field the best eleven for the tour of Sri Lanka, West Indies Players Association (WIPA) not being fully representative of players and reduction of home Test series to just two-or-three games.
Other concerns expressed are the unhappy state of women’s cricket, whether a private company structure can deliver a public good, universal concern in the traditional and online media about the state of governance, absence of vision and lack of accountability.
The panel draws upon recommendations from past governance reports specifically the Wilkins and Patterson ones to propose a new structure.
The new structure will comprise five board/management committee/directors handling the following functional areas:
The emphasis is to be on professional competencies over territorial considerations.
The number of Board members is to be reduced to just nine.
One Board Member will specifically represent Women’s Cricket.
A head-hunting firm will oversee the selection process which will review candidates chosen by the Nominations Council.
The Caribbean Development Bank must be asked to fund “a team of consultants to define the process and regulatory framework for a transformed Board’s management structure, governance arrangements and shareholding in a new dispensation.”
The six territorial boards must be incorporated under similar rules or criteria.
The Change Management expert will ensure the Board members are distinct from executive management personnel while forming the Interim Board.
Women’s cricket should be addressed in the vision statement of the Board.
The Board must develop “specific marketing and sponsorship strategies to popularize the game, especially with families and young girls and to promote the star female players as mentors and role models, as well as to enhance their commercial value to sponsors.”
Appendix III lists the names of interviewed persons as:
What he said:
“”That was amazing man, I wish I could use some expletives on TV to really express how much of a top knock that was.”
West Indies’ final over hero in the T20 World Cup final, Carlos Brathwaite , is all praise for his senior partner Marlon Samuels who held the innings together with a stellar 85 off 66 balls.
“It’s us against the world and someone needed to take responsibility. And today Marlon Samuels after a slow start took responsibility and played a fantastic knock. That was amazing man, I wish I could use some expletives on TV to really express how much of a top knock that was. He did it in 2010, and I knew if Samuels was there in the end, he’ll bring us home in 2016. It was a matter of when and not if.”
The 27-year-old backed his skipper Darren Sammy’s emotional outburst against the West Indian Cricket Board (WICB) saying:
“Most of the nations have more resources than we do, but we have natural talent. It has been said we don’t have brains, that we don’t harness our talent, that we do things off the field that contribute to poor on-field success. But I just want to say being around these guys, that everything we do on and off the field is for the betterment of West Indies, not just the team but also cricket and the region in general.”
On the final over against England’s Ben Stokes:
“It was a little nerve-wracking to be honest, I just tried to stay focused, use my cue words, watch the ball and take some pressure off Marlon. It would have been too hard to give him a single and expect him to do it all. I just had to bite the bullet and try to get a couple of boundaries, which fortunately I did, give God thanks for bringing it home for the people in West Indies.
After the third six I just backed myself, go hard, if it goes in the air I knew Marlon would finish it but I knew I had to be there as close to the end as possible. We continued to back ourselves, back our strength and our strength is hitting boundaries. Once we knew it was manageable we knew we could do it.
I just want say a special mention to everyone in Sargeant’s Village, my family, my friends and especially to Mr Errol Edey, the master bat-maker from the Caribbean.He made this special beauty for me to use in the World Cup and he told me, ‘Carlos, go out there and smash ’em’. Erroll, I did, and now we are world champions.”
What he really meant:
“I’m rendered speechless by the sense of occasion. Would expletives do instead?”
What he definitely didn’t:
“Hey, Virat, can you teach me a few of those choicest Punjabi and Hindi abuses, my maan?”
What he said:
“Maybe I have a real face and he doesn’t.”
Marlon Samuels was not a gracious winner despite his match-winning knock in the World T20 final at Kolkata against England.
The volatile West Indian was quick to let loose a volley at his long-time bete-noire Shane Warne dedicating his man-of-the-match award to the Australian spin king turned commentator.
The duo have a history of clashes dating back to the second edition of the Big Bash league.
“I woke up this morning with one thing on my mind. Shane Warne has been talking continuously and all I want to say is ‘this is for Shane Warne’. I answer with the bat, not the mic. I played a Test series in Australia (in January 2016) and Shane Warne has a problem with me. Don’t know why. I’ve never disrespected him. It seems that he has a lot inside him that needs to come out. I don’t appreciate the way he continues to talk about me and the things that he keeps doing.”
The facial jibe was a reference to Warne having admitted to using Botox in the past.
What he really meant:
“It’s my turn to face the mike. Warney, can you stand the music?”
What he definitely didn’t:
“I’d really like a bearded and moustachioed Warne, wouldn’t you?”
Say, that was some stunt you pulled the other day on Australian national television during the Big Bash.
While there’s nothing wrong with asking a lady out, there’s something inherently wrong about doing it when she’s going about her job and embarrassing her in front of millions of viewers.
If you really needed a date, you should have walked down to the nearest bar after your game, and tried to chat up someone there.
Did you know Mel McLaughlin that well, that you felt you could do something so crazy and simply laugh it off?
And if you really, really desperately needed to ask Mel out, you could simply have done it on a one-to-one basis in a more private setting.
As for all the cries about sexual harassment, I’ll leave it to the fairer sex to call you out on that.
You were one of my earliest followers on my Facebook page and we were even Facebook friends for a brief while—all this, when I was posting my blog on Bleacher Report (I believe it has some reach in the Caribbean; Mike Hussey followed me on Twitter too but then that’s another story).
So what’s the real story, Chris?
I was one of your supporters when you were having trouble with the West Indies Cricket Board. I couldn’t believe that the West Indies could leave out a player who has two triple centuries in Test cricket. It’s not as though the West Indies have been churning out Brian Lara clones since his exit from the game.
“Don’t blush, baby,” really, that’s all you had to add after your public gaffe.
And what’s this crap about “pockets empty” on Instagram, the fine of 10,000 Australian dollars is just a drop in the ocean for you. You deserve it, man.
There was a time when you were flirting with the idea of publishing an autobiography but then decided against it.
I agreed, then, that it was a bad idea best left until you retired from the game. After all, why rile your colleagues while you’re still playing? Besides, you still had some good years in you.
Well, Chris, you’ve irritated a lot of your fans now and can surely do better.
I’m sure that your autobiography will be much awaited when it actually hit the stands.
Your fans would all like to know what actually makes Chris Henry Gayle tick—like this.
A disappointed fan.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is an ass.
An ass who has won Team India two World Cups and a Champions Trophy but an ass nevertheless.
Nothing else can explain why the famed leader of men in colored clothing would castigate his fast bowlers for straying while bowling quick in ODIs.
The wise men of Indian cricket were quick to follow his lead and have relegated Umesh Yadav to the India A squad.
Sir Andy Roberts rushed to Yadav’s defense.
Trust a fast bowler to understand another.
“Look at Australia, Mitchell Johnson was nowhere in the last five years, but he went back, worked hard, strengthened his body and used his pace. Johnson wasn’t about line and length, he was all about pace and that’s what got Australia back to the forefront. Pace!
Yadav is India’s genuine fast bowler and I don’t like this idea of you telling your fast bowlers you must bowl line and length, you don’t sacrifice pace for length and control, all one needs to do is work hard in the nets to better his control.
Well that’s selectors for you (on Yadav’s demotion)
He (Yadav) has the pace and not too many fast bowlers have pace. You don’t just make fast bowlers. You have to be born with it.”
Yadav, however, has no intention of slowing down.
“As a genuine fast bowler, the margin of error is very less for us. It’s not easy for a fast bowler to bowl consistently in one area. It’s easier for a medium pacer to maintain line length at 130-135 km/hr. Many times boundaries go because of the pace at which I bowl. At times, I try different things and when that doesn’t work, it costs me a few runs. Everyone is different. I can’t bowl like Mustafizur Rahman and he can’t bowl like me. My release point is different from that of a medium pacer’s, If I change that, I will mess up with my bowling. I am in this team because of my pace. I have taken wickets at the international level with pace.”
On the Bangladesh defeat:
“It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact reason for the defeat. We were playing continuously for the last 8-10 months so may be fatigue was an issue. Obviously we could have done a lot better. Having said that, Bangladesh played some good aggressive cricket. The pressure was definitely on us. They had nothing to lose. Mustafizur bowled well in the first two matches. We had never seen him before – how he uses the slow ball, how he uses those cutters. After the first two matches we got to know about his strengths and played him well in the last match. Unfortunately, the series was over by then.”
On the India A selection:
“Yes, I would have a bit of rest as I am playing continuous cricket for last eight months. However, the selectors feel I need to bowl before the Sri Lanka series. They must have thought something about me and Varun (Aaron). May be they thought we must have match practice before the Sri Lanka series. So I am prepared for that. I will try to utilize this short break to refresh myself and then be ready for the India ‘A’ assignment.”
On India’s World Cup campaign:
“When I started my cricket, I had a dream to be part of a World Cup team. I wasn’t a regular in the team before the West Indies and Sri Lanka series. However, I had that confidence and attitude that I could be part of the team. When I got the chance for West Indies series, I grabbed it with both hands and showed what I can do for the team. Only thing in my mind was to contribute in winning causes. I am glad I did that whenever the captain threw the ball to me.
We were bit tired during the triangular series after the long Test series. So we didn’t perform as well as we would’ve liked. But yes, it gave us a good opportunity to assess ourselves and what we needed to do in the World Cup. For instance, mid-wicket and deep square-legboundaries were quite long in Australia and it wasn’t easy to clear them if you hurry the batsmen and use short deliveries properly. We did exactly that. Before the tournament, nobody expected the Indian bowlers to perform that well but we knew what we were capable of. To bounce out the opposition was brilliant.”
It would have been so much nicer and smarter if MSD would have a chat with his fast bowlers on these lines instead:
“Guys, I know you cannot be accurate always and may go for runs. But what I want from my pacers are wickets and wickets quickly and at crucial junctures. If you can give me the breakthroughs and an average of 2-3 wickets per game, I will be mighty satisfied. After all, bowlers (and catches) win matches.”
That, my friends, is the way to go.
Much has been made about Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s unceremonious ouster from the West Indian side. The veteran left-hander was left out from the Caribbean outfit for the series against Australia following a poor run of scores against England recently.
Was it the right thing to do? The southpaw is 40+ and is not getting any younger. Age should never be a criteria and rightly so. Form and class play an important role. Australia are a top side and playing an out-of-sorts Chanderpaul, however, would not have been fair to the rest of the side.
Sachin Tendulkar was given a farewell Test series by the BCCI against a weak West Indian side at Mumbai; he was able to go out on a relative high. Many would have preferred if the great had called it quits after the 2011 World Cup. The Master Blaster lingered on. It is a human failing fans have witnessed in so many wonderful sports persons. They do not know when to bid the game goodbye.
Ironically, the first Test saw the resurgence of a wonderfully talented Australian batsman Adam Voges making his Test debut at 35. Australian selectors are ruthless when cutting out-of-form or aging players to make room for younger champions.
Little credit is given to them for their bravery in choosing older players who would be considered journeymen in countries in India or Pakistan.
Thus, Matthew Hayden made a comeback at 32. Look where he finished!
Michael Hussey made the best of the chances that came his way the second time around. Adam Voges is probably another of this breed. Team coach Darren Lehmann himself was a beneficiary of the selectors’ long memories.
Should Chanderpaul have played and contributed a ton à la Voges, he would have been lauded by one and all. But, alas, that is wishful thinking reflected upon by the mawkish.
Sports, like business, has no room for sentiment. Winning is serious business; so is modern sport.
What he said:
“First of all, I should get into the eleven.”
Darren Sammy, former West Indies skipper, is quite pragmatic about his selection for the ODI series against India.
He continues to be in the thick of things despite retiring from Test cricket following his sacking as skipper.
“I am enjoying my life, I am enjoying my cricket at the moment. I said when I retired that the team was moving in a new direction, they had no space for me. Cricket is not about me I have always said so. It is time for West Indies cricket to move on with a new captain Denesh (Ramdin) and I am happy.
No regrets, I am just happy to still be playing one-day and T20s for West Indies and that is what I am focusing on.”
On leading the West Indies:
“(Being) the captain of West Indies is tough. Captaining any side is tough but captaining West Indies we have players from different islands, different backgrounds, different culture…it has always been tough. For me, that side of things, I don’t miss it but I continue to be a leader in the team and play my role how I am supposed to play it.
Now we have three different captains. Tests and one-day that pressure goes to (Dwayne) Bravo and Ramdin. I just wait for when it is T20. But I try to be a leader in one-day and T20 cricket.”
What he really meant:
“Let’s not count my chickens before they’re hatched. First things first: Am I going to be in the playing eleven?”
What he definitely didn’t:
“Batting in the nets is good enough for me.”
What he said:
“We wanted to beat everyone and whether they were white, black, green, pink, Australian, English, Pakistani – we just wanted to beat them.”
Former West Indian fast bowling great, Michael Holding, does not agree with the portrayal of the West Indian side of the 70s and 80s in the documentary, “Fire in Babylon”.
“It is very powerful, very political.I can’t say I’m 100 per cent with the final product to be honest, because I think the race thing was overplayed a little bit.”
“Some of the interviews they did with some of the Caribbean personalities didn’t really reflect how we as cricketers thought, but perhaps we are the sidelines.”
“At no time that I played in that team did I ever get the impression from anybody that we were playing against these people because they were former colonisers, I didn’t get that impression.”
“We were just playing cricket.”
What he really meant:
“We just wanted to be the best side in the world and play our best cricket. If we had to knock heads over, so be it.Race, colour and creed mattered little. We were secular—in that respect.”
What he definitely didn’t say:
“We loved having opposing batsmen turn all shades while facing us. Green (sick), white (fear) and red or purple(bruised).”