PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Feb 14, CMC – Cricket West Indies chief executive, Johnny Grave, says CWI is in firm agreement with the International Cricket Council’s get-tough policy on player abuse, in the wake of the severe punishment dished out to fast bowler Shannon Gabriel.
And while conceding Gabriel’s four-match one-day ban was a huge blow for the Windies, Grave said he also expected the 30-year-old to learn from the incident.
Gabriel was suspended for the first four One-Day Internationals against England starting next week, following a verbal exchange with England captain Joe Root on the third day of the final Test on Tuesday which was deemed to be in breach of the ICC’s code of conduct.
“The ICC has put in place a zero tolerance on any abuse on the field by players and we are fully supportive of that,” Grave told the Newsday publication here.
He added: “I think in terms of the way the series has been played, it’s been played in great spirits by two teams that have gone hard at each other over three Tests.
“It is disappointing we are talking about one isolated incident, which I hope does not tarnish what has otherwise been a fantastic series in terms of the quality of the cricket and also the manner and spirit in which both sides have played.”
The matter came to the fore when stump microphones picked up Root telling Gabriel: “Don’t use it as an insult. There’s nothing wrong with being gay.”
And though Gabriel’s initial comments had not been detected, international media created a firestorm over the matter, alleging that Gabriel had made homophobic remarks.
It was only on Thursday that Gabriel, in a statement, revealed he had said to Root in the heat of the moment: “why are you smiling at me? Do you like boys?”
Gabriel said he considered the comment nothing more than “inoffensive picong and sporting banter” but nonetheless, issued an apology to Root, the England team and his Windies teammates.
“I am sure Shannon will learn from this, and it is disappointing he has to learn the hard way,” Grave noted.
“But he has now accumulated too many demerit points and misses games, which is the ultimate action for any professional cricketer in international cricket. They want to be playing when they are fit…it is a massive loss to us and to him personally.”
Gabriel was not named in the Windies squad for the first two one-dayers in Barbados but was expected to feature later in the five-match series.