West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle is scared of being around women ever since stories were published saying he exposed himself to a female massage therapist, a Sydney jury has been told.
"He always feels someone is out to get him," close friend and professional cricket coach Donovan Miller told the NSW Supreme Court today.
Gayle is suing Fairfax Media for defamation, saying it falsely claimed he intentionally exposed his genitalia to, and indecently propositioned, Leanne Russell in the West Indies dressing room during a Sydney training session at the 2015 World Cup.
Miller said he had known the cricketer for more than 22 years and had become particularly close to him because of his work with the Chris Gayle Foundation. The UK-based organisation helps disadvantaged young children by using cricket to guide them.
Asked about Gayle's reputation before the articles were published in January 2016, Miller said: "I think everyone loves him" and added he was a big role model to young cricketers.
When the exposure claims were first aired "we all thought this was a joke ... not serious", Miller told the court.
Since then, Gayle had become very reserved "and scared, especially (around) females and he always feels someone is out to get him".
"You can see the incident has affected him," Miller said.
"When you look in his eyes you can see he is really hurting about it." He recalled selecting Gayle to be on a panel in England around the time the story was in the media and being asked "Why would you pick Chris Gayle with this sort of reputation?".
"I do feel a bit sorry for him.
"I have known him for so long, I feel people have the wrong perception." The hearing continues.