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‘Need for Respect & Sensitivity’ – Suspended Gabriel Explains Root Incident

Cricketnext Staff |February 14, 2019, 5:59 PM IST
‘Need for Respect & Sensitivity’ – Suspended Gabriel Explains Root Incident

Windies pacer Shannon Gabriel, who has been suspended for the first four One-Day Internationals of the upcoming five-match series against England for abusive comments during the third Test in St. Lucia, has provided his version of events on the incident involving England captain Joe Root. Gabriel has conceded that there was a need for “sensitivity and respect” from athletes in their interactions.

Gabriel was found guilty of breaching article 2.13 of the ICC Code of Conduct which relates to “personal abuse of a Player, Player Support Personnel, Umpire or Match Referee during an international match”, which took his accumulated demerit points to eight. He has also been fined 75% of his match fee.

The incident happened on the third day of the Test, with stump mics picking up an interaction between Gabriel and the England batsmen, which ended with Joe Root stating that “there’s nothing wrong with being gay”.

In his statement, Gabriel said, “I think I owe it to them (friends and well-wishers) and to all supporters of West Indies cricket to provide an accurate record of what happened.

"The exchange occurred 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.

"I recognize now that I was attempting to break through my own tension when I said to Joe Root: 'Why are you smiling at me? Do you like boys?'

"His response, which was picked up by the microphone, was: 'Don't use it as an insult. There's nothing wrong with being gay.' I then responded: 'I have no issues with that, but you should stop smiling at me.'"

Gabriel called the episode an “opportunity for myself and all athletes to recognize the need for sensitivity and respect in their interactions with all.” He also said that he had a conversation with Root about the incident, and is “comforted by the fact that there are no hard feelings” between the two.

On-field umpires Rod Tucker, Kumar Dharmasena and third umpire Chris Gaffaney had initially levelled the charges, following which Gabriel accepted the sanction.

"Sometimes people say things on the field that they might regret, but they should stay on the field," Root had earlier said in the post-match press conference.

"It's Test cricket and he's an emotional guy trying to do everything he can to win a Test match. He's a good guy who plays hard cricket and is proud to be in the position he is. The battle was a good contest, he's had a wonderful series and he should be proud."

Gabriel played the last of his 18 ODIs in December 2017.

Windies lost the Test but won the three-match series 2-1.

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