West Indies and Melbourne Renegades batsman Chris Gayle has come under fire for asking out a journalist during a pitch-side interview in a Big Bash League game. The 36-year-old made the offer to Ten Sport reporter Melanie McLaughlin and his actions have been labelled 'disrespectful' and 'inappropriate' by the tournament organisers.
Gayle scored 41 from 15 balls as the Renegades beat the Hobart Hurricanes by five wickets with 36 balls to spare, but his innings was soon overshadowed. Following his dismissal, the Jamaican-born player was interviewed during the live broadcast on Australian television when he submitted the crude proposal.
Asked about his innings by McLaughlin, Gayle responded: "I just wanted to have an interview with you as well, to see your eyes for the first time is nice. Hopefully we win this game and we can have a drink afterwards. Don't blush, baby." She replied: "I'm not blushing".
BBV chief Anthony Everard replied immediately to the comments, saying: "I heard Chris' comments and they're disrespectful and simply inappropriate. We'll certainly be talking to him and the Renegades about it. This league is about its appeal to kids, families and females. There's just no place in the BBL – or, for that matter, cricket anywhere – for that sort of behaviour."
McLaughlin is among Network Ten's flagship reporters, having hosted Australia's domestic T20 competition since 2013, while she has also worked on the Commonwealth Games and Winter Olympics in 2014. Former England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who has been working as part of the Ten Sport commentary team, wrote on Twitter: "Well played @Mel_Mclaughlin !! Big fan of @henrygayle but made himself look a bit of a chop there."
Amid the social media criticism of Gayle, the batsman has received support from Mail Online US editor Piers Morgan, who is also a well-known cricket fan. "I'm absolutely outraged that everyone's so absolutely outraged by @henrygayle being a bit cheeky to a female TV reporter," the British journalist said on Twitter, a message which was subsequently retweeted by Gayle.