As the Melbourne Renegades gear up for the next instalment of the Big Bash League, Brad Hogg says there is "no reason" Chris Gayle couldn't return to the competition if available.
Gayle, 38, hasn't been seen in the BBL since his rocky summer with the Renegades in 2015-16, a season in which the explosive West Indian came under fire for the now-infamous "don't blush baby" remark made to then-Channel Ten reporter Mel McLaughlin during a game in Hobart. It was subsequently reported that Gayle had allegedly exposed himself to a West Indian team massage therapist during the World Cup in 2015, however Gayle successfully sued Fairfax Media - who published the story - for defamation.
The cricket world was served a reminder of Gayle's Twenty20 prowess in Tuesday's final of the Bangladesh Premier League, with Gayle belting 146 not out from 69 balls with a record 18 sixes to lead the Rangpur Riders to victory.
Gayle was asked after the match whether he was asked if he was the Don Bradman of T20 cricket, to which the Jamaican asserted: "No, I am actually the greatest batsman of all time." While that claim is statistically dubious, Gayle's brilliance is hard to deny. While Hogg acknowledged that it wasn't for him to decide whether Gayle would return to the competition, he said that ideally the best players in the world would play in the BBL.
"If he's available, I see no reason why he can't come back," Hogg said at Melbourne Airport ahead of the Renegades' flight to a pre-season camp on the Sunshine Coast.
"It's disappointing what happened in previous years but it's up to everyone to pull their socks up and make sure that those things don't happen down the track."
Asked whether Gayle was better than the legendary Bradman, whose Test average of 99.94 remains in a league of its own, Hogg cheekily said: "What are we talking about there?
"You can't compare eras. That's the way Chris is, that's his humour. I like the way he goes about it, he's an entertainer out there, he's hard to bowl to."
If the Renegades are anything to go by, there remains plenty of time for Gayle to ply his trade. Left-armer Hogg remains an active player even though he is due to turn 47 in February, while he has been re-united with former Australian teammate Brad Hodge, signed by the Renegades in the off-season. Hodge turns 43 later this month.
Hogg's future at the Renegades had appeared in doubt following off-season knee surgery, but the energetic veteran insists he is again up for the challenge. "I've been very lucky throughout my career to have lasted as long as I've done," Hogg said.
"I would have liked to have played a little more grade cricket going into the tournament, but at the end of the day I've got a bit of experience behind me, so there's no excuses.
"I'm always feeling good. If I'm complaining, Australia's in trouble.
"I'm just fortunate that I'm still playing. At the end of the day, if things fall apart and this is my last one, don't worry about it, I'm going to enjoy it. I'm just making the most of the opportunities."
While the Renegades have lost West Indian spinner Sunil Narine for this season, their spinning stocks remain deep following the signatures of former Test tweaker Jon Holland and Afghanistan's spinning all-rounder Mohammad Nabi.
Hogg said Holland should still be in contention for international duties following his two Tests in Sri Lanka last year.
"He's bowling extremely well. I just love the way that he's going," Hogg said.
"I think the selectors have got to look at him for future opportunities to play for Australia, especially playing in the sub-continent, to complement [Nathan] Lyon."
The Renegades play practice matches against Brisbane in Maroochydore on Friday and Saturday before their BBL campaign begins away to Hobart on December 21.