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Creating issues out of nothing


Creating issues out of nothing

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WHEN NEWS BROKE about Shannon Gabriel’s latest brush with international cricket authorities, I was ready to lambaste the bowler. After all, Shannon had earned a one-match ban in November last for allegedly culpable interaction with Bangladesh’s Imrul Kayes.

Our Shannon apparently had pushed the batsman a second time after being warned about the first. His ill-fated swipe to give Pakistan victory in a Test match and the series is also always fresh every time the player does or says something weird.

The England captain highlighted his response to Gabriel’s alleged homophobic remark without, alas, stating the offending words. It was only Gabriel’s statement of contrition which revealed the dreaded words: “Why are you smiling at me? Do you like boys?”

I find it difficult to understand the outrage, absent Gabriel positively taunting Root about his sexual preferences. For gay groups to give credit to the England captain for standing up for gay rights, they must be really short of issues, and terribly thin-skinned.

The world has gone mad when some comfortably seated official can mandate a player to lose 75 per cent of his hard-earned match fee for a silly charge. What would the response be to a question from one player to another: “You have a very expensive chain. Did you break into a jeweller’s?” Would that qualify for at least a ten-year ban?

Questions persist over many aspects of this case. If the England captain, having upbraided Gabriel, promised that the matter was then closed, how did it become the subject of an investigation? After all, the mic did not pick up Gabriel’s comment. The Windies team manager seems to have made Gabriel sign an admission of guilt, with no attempt to mitigate on his behalf. Where was the local captain in all of this?

This writer has serious concerns about these International Cricket Council (ICC) officials who seem to create issues out of nothing. In 1994, I saw Mike Atherton, adjudged lbw first ball by Fanie De



Villiers, walking off, shaking his head disconsolately. Most intelligent persons would have considered that gesture a natural reaction of a human being, captain and opener, who had let the team down.

Not Peter Burge. Expertly reading Atherton’s mind, he fined him for dissent.

It is time for the ICC to replace these robots with humans.



WEST INDIES’ Shannon Gabriel (left) and England’s Joe Root shaking hands after the St Lucia Test in

which the incident occurred. (FP)