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Banned Windies star apologises for homophobic sledge directed at England's Joe Root

The West Indies bowler who was challenged by England captain Joe Root for a homophobic sledge has revealed what he said in the controversial exchange during the third Test in St Lucia.

Shannon Gabriel, who was charged by the International Cricket Council for the comments directed at Root, apologised for the incident saying Root's stare sparked his response.

"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 recognise 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'.

"I know now that it was offensive and for that I am deeply sorry.

"To my teammates 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."

The 30-year-old paceman was fined 75 per cent of his match fee and handed a four-match ban for the incident, meaning he will miss most of the upcoming five-match ODI series against England.

Gabriel added he has spoken to Root about the slur and cleared the air.

"Joe Root and I have since spoken, and I am comforted by the fact that there are no hard feelings between us.

"I think it is fair to say that neither of us ever expected the issue to escalate to the point that it has.

"Nonetheless, I embrace this as a learning experience and as an opportunity for myself and all athletes to recognise the need for sensitivity and respect in their interactions with all."


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