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Windies’ Gabriel banned from England ODIs

By AAP Newswire

West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel has been banned for the first four one-day internationals against England after being found guilty of "personal abuse" in the St Lucia Test, the International Cricket Council says.

Gabriel, 30, accepted an ICC charge after he was warned by on-field umpires during the third test for comments made towards England captain Joe Root.

Gabriel's remark was not audible to television viewers but according to Sky Sports the England captain was heard replying to the bowler: "Don't use it as an insult. There's nothing wrong with being gay".

The charge was under article 2.13 of the ICC's code of conduct, which relates to the personal abuse of a player, player support personnel, umpire or match referee during an international match.

"Gabriel already had five demerit points against his name for two earlier incidents - three demerit points during the Jamaica test against Pakistan in April 2017 and two demerit points in the Chittagong test against Bangladesh last November," the ICC said in a statement.

"With the addition of these three demerit points, he has reached the threshold of eight demerit points, which, pursuant to article 7.6 of the Code, have been converted into four suspension points."

Gabriel sought to clear the air over what he said to Root and extended an "unreserved apology" for his comments.

"The exchange occurred during a tense moment on the field," Gabriel explained in a written 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 recognise 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.'"

As per ICC regulations, four suspension points equate to a ban from two tests or four one-day matches, whichever come first for the player.

Gabriel had earlier been suspended from the Mirpur test in November last year when he reached the threshold of four demerit points.

West Indies host England in a five-match ODI series starting on February 20 in Barbados.