West Indies pacer Shannon Gabriel recently revealed that he wants to move on from the controversy he was embroiled in during a Test match against England in February 2019, in which he asked the English captain Joe Root if he 'likes boys'.
Root then replied with 'there's nothing wrong with being gay'. Gabriel was adjudged to be guilty of directing a homophobic insult at Root and was subsequently banned for 4 Test matches.
Speaking in a virtual press conference, Gabriel spoke about the events that unfolded in St. Lucia. The fast bowler stated that his comments were blown out of proportion and that he wants to forget the whole incident.
"To be honest, that was in the past. I don't really think about it too much. Whatever happened or whatever was said, I don't really want to harp on about that, I'm just looking to the future now. I've just come here to play good cricket if selected, and do my best for West Indies cricket," said Shannon Gabriel.
"I just think the way they dealt with it was blown way out of proportion. The story that was told was not entirely true, but I just want to move on and forget that," he added.
The Shannon Gabriel-Joe Root controversy
Soon after the incident, Shannon Gabriel accepted the sanction and issued an 'unreserved apology' to both Joe Root and the cricketing fraternity. He narrated what transpired in a statement:
"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.'"
Shannon Gabriel was charged with a Level 2 'personal abuse' offence and later said that he had cleared things up with Joe Root.
The West Indies-England series for the Wisden Trophy is set to begin on 8 July and preparations are underway for the same. Both teams have announced large training contingents for the 3-Test series, with as many as 8 uncapped players finding a place in the Three Lions squad.
With all eyes on the return of the sport marred by recent claims of racism, both sides will be looking to stay clear of controversy.
Published 19 Jun 2020, 12:24 IST