The ICC Chief Executive Officer, David Richardson, did not think that the glorious game of cricket would be affected by Chris Gayle's sexist remarks to Channel 10 journalist Mel McLaughlin recently during Australia's Big Bash League match, but the former South African wicketkeeper did not shrug off the incident.
The flamboyant Jamaican's offensive language to the woman journalist created a furore, with former Australian captain and television commentator, Ian Chappell, urging the world cricket fraternity to impose a worldwide ban on him. Gayle's unpleasant and controversial “don't blush baby'“ interview took place during the Big Bash League match between Melbourne Renegades and Hobart Hurricanes at the latter’s home.
At a promotional event here on Monday, the 56-year-old Richardson made an oblique reference “despite the Gayle episode” when compere Shibani Dandekar directed a women's cricket related question to the ICC CEO.
Subsequently, responding to a query “if the Gayle-remarks-caused situation could have been avoided”, Richardson said: “Yes, it could have been avoided. But I don't think cricket needs to worry about it. I think it (cricket) can easily move on from there.”
Ian Chappell came down heavily on Gayle and went to the extent of prodding Cricket Australia (CA) to propose a worldwide ban. Chappell said that CA need to show zero-tolerance towards the “totally inappropriate” behaviour on the part of Gayle, who plays in several Twenty20 leagues in the world, including the IPL.
Talking about women's interest in cricket, Richardson said: “Our survey shows that women form 40 per cent of the television viewership of the ICC events and it's much higher for Twenty20. It's part of our strategy to use Twenty20 to engage more people. So it's just not about females watching the game, but also about a worldwide audience seeing women play cricket. From a small number five years ago, now we have one million women playing cricket all over the world. The quality of cricket they play has improved tremendously. I am very proud of women's cricket.”