West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, who was handed a four-match suspension for “inappropriate” comments on England skipper Joe Root during the third and final Test, has extended an unreserved apology while revealing his side of the story.
Gabriel who also attracted a fine of 75 per cent of his match fee and accepted the sanction without appeal has vowed to learn from the episode.
Sharing his side of the incident in an ICC statement, Gabriel said: “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 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?’
Gabriel said he now feels deeply sorry about his comments.
“To my teammates 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 picong and sporting banter. I know now that it was offensive and for that I am deeply sorry,” he said.
“Joe Root and I have since spoken and I am comforted by the fact that there are no hard feelings between us,” he added.
Having already lost the first two Tests and the three-Test series to the No.8-ranked hosts, World No.2 England eventually had a consolatory win in the final Test by 232 runs and avoided a whitewash.