Melbourne Renegades coach David Saker has said that there is "still a chance" that Chris Gayle could return to play in the Big Bash next winter, despite the storm of controversy surrounding his interview with Mel McLaughlin earlier this year.
While playing for the Renegades in Australia's domestic Twenty20 league back in January, Gayle conducted a post-match interview with Channel 10 sport reporter McLaughlin that drew widespread criticism. The 36-year-old asked her out for a drink live on air, attempted to compliment her "beautiful eyes" and said "don't blush baby", much to McLaughlin's visible discomfort.
Unsurprisingly, this led to accusations of chauvinism on Gayle's part. He was fined $10,000 by the Renegades, while several Cricket Australia officials wanted him suspended over the interview. Former Australia captain Ian Chappell even called for a world cricket ban for Gayle, though no such ban – national or global – ever materialised.
Indeed, it now seems that he may be given another contract by his former side. David Saker has claimed that the sexism controversy would not be a factor in deciding whether or not to re-sign Gayle. "That doesn't enter my mind, I just pick a squad of players," said the former England fast bowling coach. "If the hierarchies or people in higher positions than myself come down on that, they do. All I try to do is pick a squad to win."
Discussing Gayle's comments, Saker said: "We know it was the wrong thing to do, and he probably identified that quite quickly. We all did. But I think what happened afterwards was a bit of a 'beat-up'. We really want women in sport, and I think in Australia we're embracing that quite well.
"Mel [McLaughlin] does a fantastic job with what she does. We know it was wrong, but a lot of people put their two bob's worth in that probably didn't need to."