Joe Root and Shannon Gabriel have collided on-field over what’s believed to be a homophobic slur.
Gabriel was warned by umpires for abusive language after a confrontation with Root and Joe Denly during the third Test in St Lucia on Tuesday.
After play, Root refused to divulge what was said, but stump microphones overheard him telling Gabriel “there’s nothing wrong with being gay.”
Umpires Rod Tucker and Kumar Dharmasena spoke to Gabriel afterwards and reportedly told the match referee about what they’d heard.
“It’s Test cricket and [Shannon] is an emotional guy trying to do everything he can to win a Test match,” Root said after play.
“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.”
When asked if Gabriel crossed the line, Root repeated his belief that those things should stay on the field.
“I don’t want anything said in the middle to ruin what’s been a good Test series for him and his team.”
West Indies head coach Richard Pybus said he didn’t know anything about the incident.
“Nothing has been reported to me,” he said.
“If a comment was made, we will review it. And if it was untoward, we will be addressing it.”
The ICC’s code of conduct prohibits the use of “language of a personal, insulting, obscene and/or offensive nature.”
— Saud Ahmed (@saudi89) February 11, 2019
Did I just hear @root66 having to tell Gabriel that ‘there’s nothing wrong with being gay’ through the stump microphone? Does that mean Gabriel just used a homophobic slur to sledge him?! That MUST be investigated, surely?! #bbccricket
— Leo Watson (@LeoWatson1889) February 11, 2019
Root ton puts England in control
Root scored an unbeaten century as England piled up a 448-run lead at stumps on day three.
Root managed just 55 in his five previous innings on tour but will end the series on a high, closing day three unbeaten on 111.
England’s innings of 4-325 was comfortably their best, and longest, of the tour and although there were more disappointments for openers Rory Burns and Keaton Jennings, 69 from Denly offered cause for cautious optimism.
Root’s ton was his 16th in Test cricket – to put him level with Michael Atherton, Graham Thorpe and Herbert Sutcliffe – and his fifth overseas, a reminder that despite his recent wobble he remains the bedrock of England’s batting.