West Indies' player Chris Gayle. Photo: Reuters/Paul Childs

SYDNEY, Australia - Star West Indian cricketer Chris Gayle has denied exposing himself to a massage therapist, claiming an Australian media group set out to "destroy" him, in a defamation action Monday.

The lurid accusations were made by Fairfax Media newspapers The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times in a series of stories in January last year.

They claimed the all-rounder exposed himself to a female masseuse in a dressing room at the 2015 World Cup in Sydney and "indecently propositioned" her.

On the opening day of his defamation action, Gayle's barrister told the NSW Supreme Court the allegations were "quite foul" and "quite wrong".

"They intended to blacken his name. They want to destroy him," Bruce McClintock said, the Sydney Morning Herald reported from the courtroom.

The newspaper cited Gayle as telling the court "it never happened".

"It's the most hurtful thing I've actually come across in my entire life," he said. "This is one case I have to fight. I want to clear my name."

Fairfax said it was defending the articles on the basis the allegations were substantially true and in the public interest.

Their publication followed an uproar after Gayle attempted to flirt with an Australian presenter on live TV, asking her out for a drink and telling her: "Don't blush, baby."

The hearing is scheduled to run for 10 days.

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