Shannon Gabriel releases statement apologising for incident with Joe Root

CRICKET-ENG-WIS-DAY 4

England were victorious over their Caribbean counterparts after a dominant three-day Test, as Joe Root's side claimed the win by 232 runs, but headlines were made for all the wrong reasons.

As England stepped up to bat, with Shannon Gabriel at the crease ready to bowl, he was met by apparent glares from the England skipper.

In a moment of rash judgement, Gabriel responded to the mind-games with: "Why are you smiling at me? Do you like boys."

Root responded in exemplary fashion, as his words were picked up by the stump mic.

"Don't use it as an insult, there's nothing wrong with being gay," to which Gabriel uttered: "I have no issue with that, but you should stop staring at me."

It's a mould that is yet to be broken in sport, but Root's response is a step in the right direction and puts the derogatory comment by Gabriel into the negative light that is necessary.

The Windies bowler has since apologised for his comment towards the Yorkshire batsman and maintains his words weren't intended as homophobic, but instead, to rattle Root and his mind-games.

In his statement, Gabriel wrote: "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.

West Indies v England - 3rd Test: Day Four

"I recognise 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.'"

Having now been charged, Gabriel has been banned for four one-day international matches, which means he will miss all but the final game against England, with play due to commence on Wednesday February 20.

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