The International Cricket Council is awaiting a report from the match officials at the third Test between West Indies and England over the incident that led Joe Root to tell fast bowler Shannon Gabriel: “There’s nothing wrong with being gay.”
The rebuke was picked up by the stump microphones during a heated on-field exchange between the pair on the third day but there was no audio to explain what prompted the England captain to do so. Root, speaking after play, suggested Gabriel had said something he “might regret” but declined to elaborate on the details.
Sky, who take the world feed from host broadcasters Sony, published a fresh clip of the incident on Tuesday without the commentators speaking over the top. In this Root is heard saying: “Don’t use it as an insult,” to which Gabriel replies: “What was that?” Root then says: “Don’t use it as an insult. There’s nothing wrong with being gay.”
Once again the original flashpoint for this exchange was not been picked up by the stump microphones and unless fresh audio emerges, it will come down to the ICC officials both on the ground and at the governing body’s headquarters in Dubai.
Gabriel was spoken to about his language by the on-field umpires, Kumar Dharmasena and Rod Tucker, at the time and the ICC is now waiting to see whether they or Jeff Crowe, the match referee, lay any charges under section 2.13 of the ICC code of conduct, which covers “language of a personal, insulting, obscene and/or offensive nature”.
Should the match officials deem the matter to have been dealt with on the field – the umpires have 24 hours after an incident to lay a charge, while the match referee has until the final scheduled day – Dave Richardson, the ICC chief executive, still has the power to intervene within seven days. West Indies have declined to comment until the outcome of any deliberations is known.
Richardson, who leaves his post after this year’s World Cup in England, has looked to increase the policing of on-field behaviour in the wake of the acrimonious South Africa versus Australia Test series last March that eventually erupted in Cape Town when the tourists were caught ball-tampering.
Sarfraz Ahmed, the Pakistan captain, was hit with a four-match ban under the ICC’s anti-racism code last month after the stump microphones picked up a racist remark to South Africa’s Andile Phehlukwayo during a one-day international in Pretoria. When the third Test between West Indies and England resumed on Tuesday morning the stadium announcer in St Lucia reminded spectators that anyone found to have abused others on the grounds of race, religion, creed or colour would be ejected.
Gabriel was booed by a small number of the travelling England supporters at the start of his opening spell, before going on to take the wicket of Root for 122. It prompted the England captain to declare and set West Indies 485 to win.