When it comes to Chris Gayle, you can expect views straight from the heart. The Caribbean stalwart has never been one to mince words, and was at his candid best when he came out in support of the Australian cricketers embroiled in a pay dispute with their board.
“To be very honest I have not been following or have not spoken to anyone about it. But yes, I am aware of their situation. It is something that I have been involved with myself before (The Windies even cut short a tour of India in October 2014).
"I am standing with the players and hope they stand firm and get what they deserve,” Gayle said in an interview to CricketNext.
The crux of the dispute in Australia has been that the board wants to break up the fixed revenue percentage model that has been in place since 1998, though the players want it to continue. This imbroglio has resulted in over 230 professional cricketers in Australia being rendered jobless, though some headway has been made since last week, with marathon meetings being held between Cricket Australia (CA) and Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA). However, a MoU still looks some distance away.
Gayle and other top Windies players have had an acrimonious relationship with their board over pay issues, which have even led to a number of them not being selected for national duty. Therefore the blistering Windies opener, who had been a key figure for Melbourne Renegades and Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League (BBL) down under, would be expected to be empathetic to the difficulties faced by the Australian players, and advised senior Australian players like captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner to not back down under pressure from the board.
Warner incidentally had been at the forefront of the issue and had remarked that his workplace no longer felt like family.
The players' contracts lapsed at the end of June and according to a report, the Australian cricketers have lost A$1.2 million in salaries in the first fortnight of going off-contract. This has compelled a number of them to look out for individual sponsorship deals, and fast bowler Mitchell Starc and batsman Usman Khawaja have already landed deals with car manufacturers. This had come to such a pass that the Australia 'A' players cancelled their tour of South Africa that was to take place this month.