Cricket Australia says it will not take any steps to prevent West Indian batsman Chris Gayle playing in its Big Bash Twenty20 league next season.
In what appears to be a reversal of position, chief executive James Sutherland told News Corp. Saturday that Cricket Australia would not involve itself in a recruitment issue unless it involved a player implicated in match-fixing.
Gayle’s tenure with the Melbourne Renegades in last year’s BBL was tainted when he made what was interpreted as a sexist comment to a female television reporter. During a sideline interview he invited reporter Mel McLaughlin for a drink, then said “don’t blush baby” when she showed embarrassment.
Gayle was fined $10,000 for the comments which Sutherland described as “completely inappropriate” and “bordering on harassment.”
On Saturday, Sutherland said it was not Cricket Australia’s role to exclude players from the Big Bash League.
“No matter what anyone at Cricket Australia thought at management level, board level, I think you’re on a slippery slope if you start making judgments on players who could or shouldn’t be playing in the Big Bash League or in our domestic competitions,” Sutherland said.
“Because, when does that ever end? My view is unless there’s a very, very strong reason along the lines of anti-corruption, then it’s difficult for us to be making those judgments.
“I’m not saying that it wouldn’t happen but my judgment is that it’s not appropriate. It’s about the teams themselves to make the calls.”