Shannon Gabriel, the West Indies fast bowler, has been given a four-match suspension by the ICC for his use of an apparently homophobic remark directed towards Joe Root in the St Lucia Test. Gabriel, who pleaded guilty to the offence, was fined 75% of his match fee and received three demerit points, pushing him over the threshold for a ban.
Gabriel was charged with a Level Two offence under article 2.13 of the ICC's Code of Conduct, covering "personal abuse". There was no formal hearing with the match referee, Jeff Crowe, after he accepted the charge. Although Gabriel was not in the original squad for the first two ODIs against England, he is understood to have been lined up as an injury replacement for Keemo Paul.
Root was picked up by the stump mics while batting on the third day responding to an unheard comment from Gabriel. "Don't use it as an insult," he said. "There's nothing wrong with being gay."
The incident was dealt with at the time by the on-field umpires but Gabriel was charged the following day after the footage received widespread attention. Root said at the close that things said on the field "should stay on the field", but nevertheless received praise for his stance, including from UK equality charity Stonewall.
Speaking on Wednesday before the news of Gabriel's ban, England coach Trevor Bayliss repeated his feeling that stump microphones should be turned down between deliveries. As well as Gabriel, Pakistan's Sarfraz Ahmed was last month given a four-match suspension for making a racist remark remark that was picked up by the TV broadcast.
"I've said it once before, no I'm not in favour of it and I'm not going to change my mind," he said. "If stump mics were around a few years ago there would be some blokes seen as 'holier than thou' who would have been in trouble as well.
"I think [stump mics] should be down. I know there are people who think the opposite and think it is good for the game but sometimes in the heat of battle things are said, when guys given a bit of time to sit down and think about it would give themselves a bit of a kick up the backside."
Gabriel was previously given three demerit points in April 2017 for making deliberate physical contact with Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed; and another two in November last year, following a coming together with Bangladesh's Imrul Kayes. Having accumulated more than four points, he was banned for the following Test, in Dhaka.
He has now reached eight demerit points within the same two-year period, which converts to four suspension points - equivalent to a ban from two Tests or four limited-overs internationals.
England and West Indies will play five ODIs, starting in Barbados next Wednesday. At the time of the West Indies' squad being announced, chairman of selectors Courtney Browne said: "Shannon Gabriel remains very much in our World Cup plans but with a heavy workload expected in the Test series he will be considered for selection later in the ODI series."