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'There's nothing wrong with being gay' - England cricket captain's response to alleged sledging

Joe Root told West Indies bowler Shannon Gabriel not to ‘use it as an insult’ in an on-field exchange.

England cricket captain Joe Root.
England cricket captain Joe Root.
Image: Ricardo Mazalan

“DON’T USE IT as an insult,” England cricket captain Joe Root can be heard as saying in an on-field exchange. “There’s nothing wrong with being gay.”

Root suggested that West Indies bowler Shannon Gabriel ‘might regret’ his choice of words during their side’s third Test in St Lucia.

While Gabriel’s part of the conversation cannot be heard in the video captured by Sky Sports, Press Association are reporting that the 30-year-old Trinidadian was spoken to by at least one of the on-field umpires about his language.

“It’s Test cricket, he’s an emotional guy trying to do everything he can to win a Test match,” Root said afterwards when he was asked to explain what had happened.

“Sometimes people say things on the field that they might regret, but they should stay on the field.

“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.”

Meanwhile, Windies coach Richard Pybus told the BBC that he was unaware of any potential controversy, but would act upon anything that came to light.

Nothing had been reported, he said, but if anything untoward was said, it will be reviewed and addressed.

“I think the fast bowlers are always going to try and impose themselves on the game,” he said.”It’s always a proper tussle out there. I think it is pretty standard.

“The series has been played in exceptional spirit, I wouldn’t want to pre-empt anything.

“Shannon is a proper old-school fast bowler, I think we need to find out if there is anything behind the rumours and then we’ll address it.”

- With additional reporting from Omni.

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Emma Duffy

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