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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Feb. 15, 2018: West Indies cricket pacer, Trinidad and Tobago-born Shannon Gabriel, has apologized for his on-field “Do you Like Boys?” jab to English skipper Joe Root during the just concluded third test match in St. Lucia.

Gabriel was charged under article 2.13 of the ICC rules, which relates to the personal abuse of a player, player support personnel, umpire or match referee during an international match and banned for four One Day International matches.

He was also fined 75 of his match fee and picked up three demerit points, taking his overall total to eight in a two-year period, which triggered the ban.

“I know now that it was offensive and for that I am deeply sorry,” Gabriel said in a statement. “To my team-mates and members of the England team, especially their captain Joe Root, I extend an unreserved apology for a comment which in the context of on-the-field rivalry, I assumed was inoffensive sporting banter.”

Gabriel said the exchange, which occurred on the third day of the Test came “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,” he said.

“I recognize now that I was attempting to break through my own tension when I said to Joe Root: ‘Why are you smiling? 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.’”

England won the third test match by 232 runs, although they had already lost the series having been beaten in the first two Tests by the Windies.

The two sides will now face-off in a five-match ODI series starting on February 20th in Barbados.

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