The Chris Gayle show next moves to England with Somerset, with the West Indian playing in the Natwest T20 Blast.
Yes, six matches from 3 June at a huge appearance fee for the 36-year-old who has become a one-man brand ambassador for the shortest form of cricket. If you count South Africa’s Dolphins – for whom he twice signed to play T20 but didn’t play a game and the Lions – he will have represented 18 ‘major teams’ around the world.
Despite an average of over 42 and a highest score of 333, Gayle gave up Test cricket in 2014 and concentrated on the shorter versions, where there is a lot more money involved for a lot less work. There’s also more time for off-field shenanigans, to which the left-hander is increasingly drawn.
A trawl through his social media feeds shows him partying up with a variety of ‘lovelies’, as he might say, while enjoying the bright lights that come on after the stadium lights have dimmed.
And Gayle currently remains embroiled in a second case of ‘sexism’ after he was fined (Australian) $10 000 for comments made in a live TV interview with reporter Mel McLaughlin at the Big Bash.. ‘Your eyes are beautiful, hopefully we can win this game and then we can have a drink after as well. Don’t blush, baby,’ he told her.
Now, in an interview with the English reporter Charlotte Edwardes, in an article in The Times, he referred to his equipment. ‘I have a very, very big bat, the biggest in the wooooorld’ he told her, and if she didn’t get the innuendo, he left nothing to chance by following up with, ‘You think you could lift it? You’d need two hands.’
Edwardes went on to write: ‘He asks how many black men I’ve “had”, goading me when I deflect the question, and whether I’ve ever had a “t’eesome”. “I bet you have. Tell me”.’
She claimed the interview happened in Bangalore where Gayle was playing in the IPL and her version leaves nothing to the imagination. ‘I haven’t had a shag since I been here,’ he reportedly told her. ‘Ten t’ousand women will throw themselves at me. The fact is that I am damn good-looking.”’
Did he throw himself at women, she asked him? He sighed: ‘Your questions, you suck me dry.’
Recently he felt that he had been targeted and fined at the Australian Big Bash over his comments towards McLaughlin because of racism. ‘If that had been a white footballer nothing would have happened,’ he said in an interview. ‘Rugby player, nothing would have happened.’
Somerset had the perfect opportunity to strike a blow for morality but they lifted the carpet and brought out a [presumably big] broom.
‘I was disappointed to read the article,’ Guy Lavender, the Somerset chief executive, told the Observer. ‘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. We have a track record of mavericks – Ian Botham and Viv Richards are examples – but we take conduct seriously. I’m sure we will have a sensible conversation with Chris when he arrives in the country.’
Six matches for Somerset and then Gayle will move on to the next T20 circus, of which he is fast emerging as the biggest clown.