West Indies bowler Shannon Gabriel claims he asked England’s Joe Root if he “liked boys” during the third Test but has apologised for his words.
The 30-year-old was charged for the comments he made to skipper Root, who replied: “Don’t use it as an insult. There’s nothing wrong with being gay.”
The incident in St Lucia resulted in a four-match ODI ban for Gabriel, 30. “I know now that it was offensive and for that I am deeply sorry,” Gabriel said in a statement.
“To my team-mates and members of the England team, especially their captain Joe Root, I extend an unreserved apology for a comment which in the context of on-the-field rivalry, I assumed was inoffensive sporting banter.”
Gabriel said of an exchange that occurred on the third day of the Test that it had come “during a tense moment on the field”.
“The pressure was on and England’s captain Joe Root was looking at me intensely as I prepared to bowl, which may have been the usual psychological strategy with which all Test cricketers are familiar,” he said.
“I recognise now that I was attempting to break through my own tension when I said to Joe Root: ‘Why are you smiling? Do you like boys?’
Gabriel was charged under article 2.13, which relates to the personal abuse of a player, player support personnel, umpire or match referee during an international match.
By accepting the charge, Gabriel was fined 75% of his match fee and picked up three demerit points, taking his overall total to eight in a two-year period, which triggered the ban.
England won the Test by 232 runs, although they had already lost the series having been beaten in the first two Tests. A five-match ODI series between the sides starts on 20 February in Barbados.(BBC)