UK

Chris Gayle Critics Pile In Over 'Sexist' Request For Drink With Reporter, Pier Morgan Rebuts

04/01/2016 13:12 GMT | Updated 04/01/2016 13:59 GMT

Piers Morgan has leapt to the defence of his friend, the cricket superstar Chris Gayle, who was embroiled in a sexism row on Monday morning.

The new 'Good Morning Britain' host called out critics of Gayle, who piled in to lambast him for asking a reporter out for a drink live on television.

Gayle, who was opening batsman for the Melbourne Renegades in a fierce match against the Hobart Hurricanes in Australia, had just been dismissed with 41 runs under his belt.

Caught by 'Channel 10' reporter Mel McLaughlin as he exited the field, Gayle stopped for a brief interview.

Asked about the rest of the game's prospects he told the broadcaster: "Hopefully we can win this game and have a drink after. Don't blush, baby".

McLaughlin retorted quickly, firing back that she was "not blushing".

But the exchange was enough to enflame the tempers of thousands, many taking to social media to call out Gayle for the "sexist" remark, one reminding him: "Interviews aren't a pickup joint."

Even Andrew - known to his fans as 'Freddie' - Flintoff, the famed English Test cricketer who previously played for the Brisbane Heat team, piled in, commending McLaughlin for her handling of the situation.

But many thousands more defended Gayle, including his longstanding friend Piers Morgan.

The former tabloid editor invited Gayle to attend an Arsenal vs Man Utd game with his family back in October.

But he fired off a series of messages today in defence of Gayle, saying he was "outraged" at the backlash over his friend's comments, adding that he had only been "being a bit cheeky to a female TV reporter".

Morgan also posted a link to a video featuring former tennis singles number 1 Maria Sharapova, in which the Russian is seen "openly flirting" with a male Australian reporter.

He accused critics of not having been as indignant at the Sharapova incident as at Gayle's gaffe on Monday.

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