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West Indies v England: Shannon Gabriel in homophobic storm as Joe Root calls out bowler for foul language


Joe Root and Shannon Gabriel’s verbal exchange which was picked up by the stump microphone (Picture: Getty)

West Indies star Shannon Gabriel has been caught up in a homophobic storm after Joe Root called out the fast bowler for on-field comments he apparently made in St Lucia.

England were convincingly beaten in the opening two Test matches of the series, but Root pulled out a captain’s performance on day three at the Daren Sammy Stadium to put the tourists in the driving seat in the third Test.

While Root scored 111 not out to give England a lead of 448, the 28-year-old’s heroics were perhaps overshadowed by an incident involving West Indies paceman Gabriel.

Tensions appeared to boil over as Root and Joe Denly frustrated the West Indian bowlers and a verbal exchange was picked up on television via the stump microphone.

‘Don’t use it as an insult – there’s nothing wrong with being gay,’ Root told Gabriel during a heated discussion.

The mics did not catch Gabriel’s initial comment which provoked Root’s reaction but umpires Rod Tucker and Kumar Dharmasena warned the West Indian for foul and abusive language.

However, no further action was taken and Root played down the significance of the incident once play had ceased.

‘Sometimes people say things on the field that they might regret, but they should stay on the field,’ the Yorkshireman said.

‘It’s Test cricket and he’s an emotional guy trying to do everything he can to win a Test match.

‘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.’

West Indies’ interim coach, Richard Pybus, insisted he was unaware of the incident.

‘Nothing has been reported to me,’ he said.

‘But if a comment was made we’ll review it and if it was untoward then we will be addressing it.’

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