Shannon Gabriel reveals what he said to Joe Root in St Lucia Test
What's the story?
Gabriel has also revealed what exactly he said to Root during the third day of the recently completed third Test between West Indies and England at the Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium.
Although Gabriel's comments were unknown at that point in time, Root was caught on stump mic saying, "Don't use it as an insult. There's nothing wrong with being gay."
While Root earned plaudits for defending a marginalised section of the society, Gabriel was fined 75 per cent of his match fee and received three demerit points for breaching ICC's Code of Conduct. Eventually, the 30-year-old fast bowler was suspended for four ODIs.
Gabriel had been charged with a Level 2 offence under Article 2.13 of ICC's Code of Conduct. Since he accepted those charges, there was no need for a hearing with the match officials.
The heart of the matter
A public statement issued by Gabriel read, "I think I owe it to them (friends and well-wishers) and to all supporters of West Indies cricket to provide an accurate record of what happened."
The statement revealed, "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'."
Gabriel went on to reaffirm that he had settled the issue with Root and no animosity existed between them. He also expressed surprise regarding the way in which the entire episode has escalated in the last few days.
Although he was not named in the West Indies squad for the first two ODIs against England, Gabriel's chances of pushing for a World Cup spot have taken a significant hit as he cannot be selected for the third and fourth ODIs too.
It remains to be seen if Gabriel is picked by the selectors for the final ODI against England at St Lucia on March 2. This will be West Indies' last ODI before the 2019 World Cup.