World T20: Chris Gayle Smashes Century Off 47 Balls And Everyone Loves Him. Isn't Sport Great?

17/03/2016 12:27 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
West Indies’ Chris Gayle raises his bat after scoring hundred runs against England during their ICC World Twenty20 2016 cricket match at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

Sport has a short memory. Or a high forgiveness threshold. Or a bit of both.

This we know after Chris Gayle did what Chris Gayle does well at the World Twenty20 in India on Wednesday night, which is hitting cricket balls really hard, and the sporting world did what it does well, which is to forgive.

When Gayle publicly hit on TV presenter and anchor Mel McLaughlin during a live interview in January, saying "To see your eyes for the first time is nice. Hopefully we can have a drink afterwards. Don't blush baby", there was near universal condemnation.

Here's what Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland said:

"I think it was a pretty significant mishit by Chris Gayle. Those comments are completely out of line and inappropriate and something that we don't in any way condone. I don't think anyone would want to be put in the position that Mel McLaughlin was put in.

"It's not a nightclub and one of the things that perhaps hasn't dawned on anyone is it's actually a workplace. Those sort of comments border on harassment and again, are completely inappropriate."

That was then. Today, CA was loving Gayle.

CA's England counterparts gave Gayle plenty of adoration too despite copping a beating.

For the record, Gayle hit 100 off 47 balls to help the West Indies overhaul what had looked like a decent England total of 6 for 182. He smashed 11 sixes, then referred to himself in the third person at the end of this brief monologue.

At the post-match press conference quotes, the 36-year-old went a level beyond mere third person quotes, this time referring to himself by two of his nicknames.

"The world is watching, so the universe boss got to deliver and he did today. The Gayle force got the better of England today," the self-proclaimed damaging-strength wind and ruler of the entire known realm of physical and temporal space said.

Back in January, Gayle offered a half-baked apology for any offence he had caused McLaughlin. He said his comments were "blown out of proportion" and that they were "just a bit of fun".

Fun for him, perhaps. Here's a reminder of what Fox Sports reporter Neroli Meadows thought of the "just a bit of fun" line.

"He has done it before, he's done it to me, he's done it to several women. He does this constantly. He is a creep. He has creepy behaviour and the way that he did it to Mel was just that.

"What really disappoints me is the fact that people will still laugh, and the fact that when somebody like myself or Mel says it's not okay, people say "Oh, it's free speech, oh it's a bit of fun, don't take it so seriously".

Gayle committed no crime back in January. He remained unrepentant to the point of belligerence, but like we say, no laws were broken. (Or not the sort of laws you find in books, anyway, The law of common decency is another matter.)

So at some point, you'd have to say the cricket world is perfectly entitled to move on and say yeah, this guy can really bat. Let's celebrate that side of him. Which is what happened overnight.

That said, there's something about the stadium where Gayle struck his century that seemed appropriate. It's called the Wankhede Stadium.

More On This Topic