West Indies cricketer Shannon Gabriel has been charged by the international cricketing body over an “inappropriate comment” to England captain Joe Root.
Root was overheard saying “there’s nothing wrong with being gay” as he reacted to something that Gabriel said which was not picked up by microphones in the on-field incident on day three of the third Test in Saint Lucia yesterday.
Gabriel was swiftly spoken to about his language by at least one of the on-field umpires after the alleged sledging incident.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Tuesday night that it was charging Gabriel with breaching Article 2.13 of its code of conduct.
The article states: “Public criticism of, or inappropriate comment in relation to any incident occurring in an international match or any player…or a team participating in an international match, whether or not the match official is involved…or which may be considered detrimental to the game of cricket in general.”
The code notes that when assessing the seriousness of the breach “the context within which the criticism and/or comment has been made must be taken into account”.
Root has been praised for making a stand against homophobia and for his good-natured reaction when asked at the end of play to explain the heated incident.
He said: “It’s Test cricket. He’s an emotional guy trying to do everything he can to win a Test match.
“Sometimes people say things on the field that they might regret, but they should stay on the field.
“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.”
Former England captain Nasser Hussain, who is also a Sky Sports cricket expert, told Sky News: “Joe Root as a role model, as England captain, stood up in the middle of a Test match to what he thought was homophobic abuse and said ‘I’m not having that’.
“He could have shrugged or laughed it off but he didn’t.
“There’s no room for homophobia on or off the cricket pitch which is why I applaud what Joe Root did.”
Sledging is a term used in cricket to describe how some players seek to gain an advantage by insulting or verbally intimidating an opposing player to try to disrupt their concentration.
England won the third Test but lost the series 2-1.