‘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.”
“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.
“Don’t hate me just because I am not what you want me to be. Don’t hate me because I am not what you are. I am me and I am honest.”
Chris Gayle never learns or so it seems.
The macho West Indian star first made the front pages this year for his infamous ‘Don’t blush, baby’ line to Mel McLaughlin in an on-field interview at the Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia.
Gayle escaped with a warning and a stiff fine of AUSD 10,000.
But the smarts just wouldn’t end.
The Jamaican enjoyed rubbing it in naming his newly-born daughter—with partner Tasha—Blush.
Why draw her in into his mess, Chris? 20 years down the line, would your daughter like to be reminded of the circumstances around which she was named so? Go figure.
Trouble goes around in threes.
And there was surely a ‘threesome’ in store.
Chris Gayle pressed down on the accelerator—ignoring speed bumps— when interviewed by Times journalist Charlotte Edwardes where he talked about sex, female equality and homophobia.
Gayle told Edwardes that he had ‘a very, very big bat, the biggest in the wooooorld’ and whether she thought she “could lift it” and that she’d need both hands.
The Jamaican embarrassed her further by questioning whether she’s had any black men and been part of a threesome.
The interview touched on other aspects as well.
On women’s equality, Gayle said:
‘Women should please their man. When he comes home, food is on the table. Serious. You ask your husband what he likes and then you make it.’”
“Women should have equality and they do have equality. They have more than equality. Women can do what they want. Jamaican women are very vocal. They will let you know what time is it, for sure.’
“The culture I grew up in, gays were negative. But people can do whatever they want. You can’t tell someone how to live their life. It’s a free world.”
The timing of the interview could hardly have been more ‘fortuitous’.
Gayle is on the verge of releasing his autobiography, ‘”Six Machine” excerpts of which have been published (where else?) in the Times.
Reacting to Freddie Flintoff’s description of him as a “bit of a chop” after the McLaughlin incident, Gayle said:
“Freddie Flintstone, a young boy like you taking Viagra? Don’t lecture me. The only chop Freddie (Flintoff) knows is when he used to bowl short to me and I would chop him past backward point for four.”
Describing the McLaughlin fiasco, he added:
“Now T20 is different. It’s not Test cricket. It’s chilled and fun and let’s do things different. So when Mel asks me that question I stay in the T20 mind, and answer informal and fun. I meant it as a joke. I meant it as a little fun. I didn’t mean to be disrespectful and I didn’t mean it to be taken serious.
Channel 10’s commentary team could be heard laughing in the background … but someone above them clearly decided to step in, and a throwaway comment in a fun format escalates and blows up and within hours it has turned into a major international incident. “
The southpaw had even stronger words reserved for Ian Chappell.
“Ian Chappell, calling for me to banned worldwide, a man who was once convicted of unlawful assault in the West Indies for punching a cricket official. Ian Chappell, how can you ban the Universe Boss? You’d have to ban cricket itself.”
Former Australian opener Chris Rogers was one of his most vocal critics claiming that he set a bad example to his younger teammates.
Gayle responded thus calling him a bit of a “Roger Rabbit”.
“Chris Rogers, how can you claim that when it was you and me at the bar most nights? I’m not a snitch, but I’ve heard from your own mouth what you’ve done. Next time you want to open your mouth, maybe chew on a carrot instead.”
Is Chris Gayle in trouble yet again? Has he landed in deeper, hotter waters this time around?
His detractors would like to believe so.
This, however, does not prevent any other BBL side from signing him on.
While Somerset chief executive Guy Lavender admitted that he was disappointed with Gayle’s latest blowout, he added:
“But as I’ve said before, we found him to be fantastic the last time he was here, in terms of activities both on and off the pitch.
It’s a shame, because it detracts from his cricketing ability. The fact is, what he has said is inappropriate. But we haven’t had an opportunity to discuss [it] with him. I’m sure we will. But I don’t see it as grounds not to have him playing for us this summer.”
And in India, IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla is taking the matter seriously.
Talking to Times of India, he said:
“The players must behave themselves. We expect the players to adhere to a certain kind of behaviour when the tournament is on. The players should maintain the sanctity of the league. These kind of statements are totally uncalled for in public domain. I will take up this issue with the president and the secretary of the BCCI.”
BCCI’s secretary Ajay Shirke said:
“At this point, we’ll not look into it. We’re focused on completing the IPL, which has reached its final stages. What has happened in this case is between two foreign individuals. It is a personal matter between people who aren’t from India. At the same time, that doesn’t mean that we’ll ignore it. If a complaint is brought to us, we’ll act on it. If it develops into something more, we’ll look into it at an appropriate stage.”
Gayle , in his latest interview, believes that most of the criticism directed his way after the McLaughlin imbroglio was racially motivated.
“Successful black men are struggling because people do things to put them down. I would say this anywhere in the world, in any sporting arena, right now in 2016: racism is still the case for a black man. Trust me. They just want to get a little sniff of the dirt. They find out some shit and they want to sink you. It’s reality. You have to deal with that as a successful black man.”
Racism has always been an issue in sport.
Henry Gayle was born in a Kingston slum and used cricket as his vehicle to become one of the world’s most beloved and entertaining sportsmen.
Writing for the Guardian, Andy Bull says:
“In the last year the Zimbabwean Test cricketer Mark Vermeulen was banned by his board after he referred to black Zimbabweans as ‘apes’ on social media, while Vermeulen’s old team-mate Prosper Utseya accused that same board of racism in their running of the sport. And several Pakistani players have spoken out about racism in English county cricket, in the wake of the offence committed by Craig Overton. These issues are always there, bubbling under. But it’s rare for a star player to address them directly, as Gayle has just done.
Gayle was talking about something more insidious, about attitudes ‘off the field’, especially, he seems to be saying, among the media. And some aspects of our coverage should make us uncomfortable. As Peter Oborne pointed out in his book Wounded Tiger, the Pakistani team is often subjected to the most ludicrous stereotyping, which has stretched as far as the suggestions, widespread at the time, that certain members of their 2007 World Cup team may have had a hand in the death of their coach Bob Woolmer. Innuendos always swirl when they play poorly, quicker to gather around them than their competitors, though cheating, and fixing, are universal problems.”
Racism is not restricted to the Western hemisphere.
Foreign cheerleaders in the IPL have complained several times about the treatment and slurs they are subjected to by Indian men.
In 2008, British dancers Ellesha Newton and Sherinne Anderson were prevented from performing during a Kings XI Punjab game.
“An organiser pulled us away. He said the people here don’t want to see dark people. The ‘n’ word was used and they said they only wanted beautiful white girls. We were crying. I could understand if it were the crowd but they were very receptive. This kind of thing has never happened to us – not in Europe, not here, nowhere. “
There have not been any black cheerleaders in any edition of the IPL since.
An unnamed cheerleader in a free-wheeling chat on Reddit’s Ask Me Anything (AMA) had this to say:
“I hate the racism. Why is my team made up of 99% white girls? Why do Indians feel it’s ok to dress white girls up in skimpy outfits but they won’t let their fellow Indian women do it? It’s messed up.
I’ve asked my managers [about why no Indian girls as cheerleaders] and they don’t know. I’ll keep asking around, though, because I’m curious too. They could probably just get good dancers and train them; there’s no shortage of those.”
Chris Gayle adds in his autobiography that some people consider him “lazy“.
“People think that [my] attitude towards the game stink. That’s how it come across: lazy.”
If Gayle’s indolent, his record proves otherwise.
He has played 103 Test matches in 14 years, scored two triple centuries and is arguably the best T20 batsman in the world.
But playing the race card in this seemingly complicated mess only addles the issue.
Racial discrimination is not the only kind that exists. Women everywhere face sexual biases on a daily basis. To claim that one is better or worse than the other sidesteps the issues raised by Gayle’s nonchalance towards the ramifications of his ‘jokey‘ sideshows.
Discrimination of any kind is to be frowned upon.
To clear things up, one would probably hark back to the rustic retorts Indian women (and defenders of their modesty) dish out to eve-teasers and molesters, “Tere maa, behn or beti nahin hai kya? (Don’t you have a mother, sister or daughter?) How would you feel if someone dealt with them in the same way?”
No racism about it—just a question of right behavior in a public space.
That, Chris Gayle, is the crux of the matter. Not anything else, not anything more.
England take on the West Indies tonight in Kolkata in the sixth edition of the T20 World Cup.
Neither team is a stranger to the pressures of a final; both have emerged victors in the shortest format of the game.
Joe Root and Chris Gayle will be the cynosure of all eyes.
They are key players for their respective sides.
But finals have an uncanny knack of producing unlikely heroes.
The biggest stars have to perform to the greatest expectations.
Can they? Will they?
Some simply choke under the weight of expectations. Remember Ronaldo in the World Cup final in France in 1998 and his mysterious illness? It could well have been him and not Zinedine Zidane holding up the trophy. (Ronaldo did make amends in 2002. And it was Zidane who got the boot for his infamously provoked headbutt in 2006.Still not a Suarez.)
That’s not the point of this exercise.
It’s simply that cricket is a team sport and that it takes eleven players to get the side across the line.
The better side is simply the one that can keep it together more consistently and more often than other sides.
Those are the teams that make it through a tournament and emerge victorious.
Will it be Eoin Morgan’s England? Or will it be lovable Darren Sammy’s musketeers?
I really don’t know and I really don’t care.
For once, in this tournament I can be neutral and simply say, “Let the fireworks begin.”
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.
Have you been following IPL 8?
It’s not that cricket doesn’t excite me or that watching Chris Gayle or AB DeVilliers clobber bowlers to all parts of the ground and beyond isn’t a thrilling spectacle.
It’s just that it’s no longer interesting, it’s no longer fun.
It’s a surfeit of instant cricket following closely on the heels of the 2015 World Cup.
Yes, the cheerleaders are pleasing to look at; so are Archana Vijay and Shibani Dandekar.
However, it’s simply the same old package with very little changing.
The only positive change is the recruiting of former women cricketers as expert commentators.
I support Mumbai Indians.
But Rohit Sharma’s men simply don’t evoke the same passion that the Indian cricket team does.
What is the IPL then? A great Indian tamasha. Enjoy with bhel and popcorn and you won’t suffer from indigestion.
As for the genius who decided that the studio experts should have cheerleaders lauding their every soundbyte, he should have his head examined.
It’s obvious that advertisers have not deserted the Indian Premier League as yet.
But more of such hare-brained shenanigans and they surely will.
The quarters are over and the winners gave no quarter. Well, almost.
The results followed the dictates of the form book.
South Africa defied the odds and tore up the ‘chokers‘ tag. Perhaps, this is the Cup that will cheer the Proteas .
India made the semis but not before having to overcome some tight bowling in the first 35 overs. They were also the beneficiaries of three decidedly dubious decisions from the umpires. The result could have been much closer than the scoreline suggests.
Pakistan’s batting failed again but Wahab Riaz took the fight to the Australians in an inspired spell of fast bowling that had Shane Watson hopping, skipping and jumping like a cat on a hot tin roof.
New Zealand had it pretty much wrapped up when they scored close to 400 runs with Martin Guptill registering the second double-century of the tournament. The primary prima donna record holder Chris Gayle flattered to deceive in a brief stay at the wicket. The West Indies captain Jason Holder impressed one and all with his composure under pressure.
What he said:
“I’ve been trying to hit as straight as possible instead of hitting across the line. So I’m not going to apologise, but hopefully I didn’t hurt anyone up there.”
Mitchell Johnson is unapologetic for shattering the safety glass pane of the television broadcast box at the Harare Sports Club.
Johnson scored 20 in Australia’s 350-6 against Zimbabwe.
“I thought it was going to hit, and I was just wondering what it was going to do.I didn’t see it shatter, I just saw some of the commentators brushing away a bit of glass, so it was a good thing it didn’t shatter everywhere and the ball didn’t go through.
I think another window up here (outside the players’ dressing room) had that shattered look to it, and I’m glad no-one got injured out of it.
But it was a good feeling.
I didn’t see the first ball that was bowled to me from the other end, I was just trying to adjust to being out in the middle again but that one felt really nice, right out of the middle.”
The other shattered window Johnson referred to was broken by West Indian Chris Gayle in a T20 fixture several years ago.
“I’m happy to be compared to Chris Gayle. He’s obviously a pretty powerful guy, so if you want to compare me to him that’s fine.”
What he really meant:
“I’m a straight-shooting kind of guy. I bowl straight and fast; I’d like to bat the same way too.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“I’m gunning for the commentators. Would they like to step out and face a few of my lethal deliveries? If not with the bat, then with the red cherry.”
What he said (via FoxSports):
"They have let ego get the better of them.”
Chris Gayle elucidates the continuing standoff between him and the West Indian Cricket Board (WICB).
I would love to (be playing for the West Indies) but I cannot see it happening at this point in time.
They have let ego get the better of them. But who knows what the future holds?
It’s a sad situation. I am at the top of my game at this particular time of my career but I am not able to be taking part in international cricket.
Things are at a breakdown between the WICB and myself and that is very unfortunate. But a man has to do what a man has to do.
Cricket is my livelihood and I am doing the best I can. I am exploring alternative routes for my career while this situation continues. I am happy with this. It is much better than sitting at home doing nothing.
Gayle will be making his debut for Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League (BBL) partnering David Warner at the top of the order.
Gayle believes that Warner is the best T20 batsman after him.
Apart from me? I have to give it to Warner.From the time he made his debut until now, he has been one of the most exciting batsmen in Twenty20 cricket. He is a beast. He is explosive and dangerous for any bowler. I was very happy to see him make his Test debut.
It is always good to see an attacking player like him at the top of the order.
What he really meant:
“It’s not my pride impeding progress; ergo, their ego.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“Dr. Ernest Hilaire and I will be having a nice quiet Christmas barbeque Down Under—this Christmas.”