MELBOURNE –– Cricket Australia has launched an official investigation into allegations that West Indies opener Chris Gayle indecently exposed himself to a female Aussie worker during the 2015 World Cup while in Sydney.
Today the Jamaican lefthander categorically denied the report that has received wide publicity in Australia and the international media. His agent Simon Auteri delivered a blunt denial, along with a threat of legal action.
“Chris denies the allegations published by Fairfax Media earlier today,” Auteri said in a statement. “It is important that anyone seeking to make false accusations against Chris be aware that Chris and his management will be considering all rights and legal options available. There will be no further comment from Chris or his management at this stage.”
In Australia, officials are urging that the incident be treated very seriously, in part because it is alleged to have taken place on their turf.
Gayle is unlikely to be seen in the Big Bash League (BBL) again after this season. Cricket Australia officials have reportedly stated that his “cards are marked” with any further reputational damage to the game resulting in him not being invited back.
That hardline stance will be applied retrospectively, extending to any behaviour that might have occurred before the Mel McLaughlin interview that sparked the controversy. The result is that if the claims of exposing himself indecently are substantiated to Cricket Australia’s satisfaction, he will be sacked and banned from the tournament.
Some have already expressed dismay that Gayle was only fined $10 000 rather than being suspended and have noted that Cricket Australia missed an opportunity to send a firm message on Gayle’s sexist conduct with McLaughlin.
Further controversy raged today when the chief executive of the Melbourne Renegades for whom Gayle is playing, Stuart Coventry, dismissed Gayle’s accuser as “opportunistic”.
“Whatever third parties come out and make comments about incidents that happened in the past have nothing to do with us,” Coventry said. Cricket authorities expressed dismay at Coventry’s comments and indicated they would be looking further into the allegations.
Today West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) communications manager Carole Beckford said “no complaint has come to the board regarding anything.”
However, it was revealed today that since Gayle had now been named publicly a report would be filed by team manager Sir Richie Richardson to the WICB. The woman involved in the alleged incident told the Australian media yesterday she had reported the incident to Sir Richie after it occurred and it was reportedly dealt with internally. Sir Richie is reported to have subsequently sent a communique to all his team members about the need to be more respectful to women at the World Cup.
Quizzed yesterday by the Australian media on the allegations, Sir Richie neither acknowledged nor denied the reported incident, opting to make no comment.
The 36-year-old Gayle is not under a retainer contract with the WICB but is expected to be in the West Indies team for the ICC World Twenty20 Tournament in March in India. However, indications are that his participation in the competition could depend on the probe currently being carried out by Australian authorities.
Today the International Cricket Council distanced itself from any investigation being conducted by Cricket Australia even though the alleged incident occurred in the days before its showpiece tournament. A spokesman for the game’s global governing body indicated from Dubai that its code of conduct for players would be unlikely to cover misconduct outside matches and offered no suggestion that the ICC would look into the allegation at all.
“This a matter for the home board and not for the ICC. As the ICC has not received any complaint, there is nothing for the ICC to investigate,” the spokesman said.
Efforts to contact senior WICB officlals tonight in Jamaica were unsuccessful.