MELBOURNE–West Indies batting star Chris Gayle will not be returning to Melbourne Renegades for this year's Big Bash League.
The franchise confirmed they had decided to focus their attention elsewhere for the coming season, ruling out any possibility of Gayle being part of the line-up.
"We'll unveil our international signings soon and Chris isn't part of those plans," Renegades chief executive Stuart Coventry said.
The move by the Renegades comes quickly on the heels of the latest sexism controversy involving Gayle, last week.
In an interview with journalist Charlotte Edwards published in the Times paper in England, Gayle is quoted as saying he has "a very, very big bat, the biggest in the wooooorld."
He added: "You think you could lift it? You'd need two hands."
Edwards also said Gayle asked her how many Black men she has "had" and also inquired if she had ever been involved in a "t'eesome".
The interview once again sparked controversy, especially against the backdrop of his "don't blush baby" scandal during the Big Bash last January, for which he was reprimanded and fined for his contentious comments.
Somerset, with whom Gayle will take up a six-match contract in the T20 Blast shortly, said this week they were "disappointed" to read Gayle's comments and would talk to the player once he arrived at the club.
"We were disappointed to read the report in the Times," Somerset chief executive Guy Lavender, was quoted as saying. "Our experience of Chris was very positive when he was with us last season, both on and off the pitch.
It was disappointing to read the article. We haven't had the opportunity to discuss this with him yet, but of course will do so when he arrives to play for us in a few days' time."
Lavender said that despite the latest brouhaha, he expected Gayle to still suit up for the club. "Players are the ambassadors of the club. We have a good record of signing mavericks, Ian Botham and Viv Richards being examples, but we take conduct seriously," he stressed. "It's a shame because it detracts from his cricketing ability. But I don't see it as grounds to have him not play for us this summer." CMC
The 36-year-old Jamaican is one of the most sought-after Twenty20 stars and is currently playing for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Caribbean Premier League.