They say cricket is a gentleman’s game but that age-old notion increasingly seems to be a thing of past. In modern-day cricket, sledging has become very much part of the game and recent tournaments are a fairly good example of that. And here's another one. England captain Joe Root was at the receiving end of sledging in the third Test in Saint Lucia against the hosts West Indies when he was apparently called gay by the host nation's bowler Shannon Gabriel.
Reportedly, Root hit back at the West Indies right-arm fast bowler after he allegedly made a homophobic taunt at him during the match. Gabriel's comments were not picked up by the mic but the 28-year-old English batsman's response was. He can be heard saying, "Don't use that as an insult. There's nothing wrong with being gay”. His response is something Root refused to explain at the press conference at the end of the day. The bowler was warned about his conduct by on-field umpires Rod Tucker and Kumar Dharmasena.
The incident took place in the afternoon session on Day 3 of the third test. Post the day’s play when Root was asked if Gabriel's comment had crossed a line, Root didn’t share the details about the argument. "I think it should stay on the field. I don't want anything said in the middle to ruin what's been a good Test series for him and his team. Sometimes people say things on the field that they might regret, but they should stay on the field." he said.
The war of words seems to have got the English batsman going as the skipper scored an unbeaten 111 and got his team overall lead of 448 runs.