International Cricket Council (ICC) has once again showed that they will not let personal sledges pass by. Nothing can be ignored by labelling it as an episode that happened in the heat of the moment. After Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed’s suspension over racial comments, now Windies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel has been suspended for four matches for his homophobic comments.
During Day 3 of the St Lucia Test Gabriel said to English skipper Joe Root, ‘Why are you smiling at me? Do you like boys?’. To this Root replied saying “Don’t use it as an insult. There is nothing wrong in being gay.”.
Gabriel’s comments were not recorded by the stump mic whereas Root’s was as revealed by Sky Sports Cricket. The English batsman was applauded for his comments whereas Gabriel drew flak for his.
The two cricketers doused the flames by meeting each other in the dressing room after the third Test.
— Windies Cricket (@windiescricket) February 13, 2019
Later on, the Caribbean bowler extended his ‘unreserved apology’ in a letter that cleared the air over the on-field exchange with Root.
“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.'”
Apart from the four-match suspension, the 30-year-old has also been fined 75 per cent of his match fee. He was charged with a Level 2 offence under article 2.13 of the ICC’s Code of Conduct, covering “personal abuse”.
However, former Windies cricketer Daren Ganga did not seem happy with the suspension after Gabriel’s letter,
Shannon Gabriel, very interesting indeed, does this warrant a 4 ODI or 2 Test suspension? @irbishi @sanjaymanjrekar @SteelyDan66 @nassercricket @Athersmike @alanwilkins22 @bhogleharsha @mmbangwa @windiescricket @ICC @englandcricket pic.twitter.com/vCFZeFyNme
— Daren Ganga (@DarenGanga) February 14, 2019