Despite falling 2-1 in their Test series against the West Indies, England’s captain, Joe Root, has been praised for calling out a homophobic sledge from West Indian pace bowler, Shannon Gabriel.
Gabriel made the comment during the Third Test in Saint Lucia; with the West Indies having already taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. Whilst the comment was not audible to the on-pitch microphones, Root can be heard saying: “There’s nothing wrong with being gay.”
Gabriel has been charged by the ICC (International Cricket Council) for a breach of the code of conduct. Root declined commenting on what Gabriel specifically said, as England cruised to a comfortable 232 run victory, albeit all in vain.
Root’s actions praised
Root’s actions have been praised by notable commentators, including non-cricket commentators. Former England skipper, Nasser Hussain, commended the current leader, saying that it was actions like these that would help form the skipper’s legacy. Likewise, UK Sports Minister, Mims Davies, also spoke very favourably regarding Root’s decision to call out the homophobic slur. It is certainly a refreshing positive take on the English test squad, particularly given their poor performances in West Indies test series.
Looking ahead at the Ashes
While the 2019 Ashes series in England is still many months away, speculation regarding the make-up of both sides is quickly heating up. Indeed, both sides have been struggling to find consistent form, particularly in the batting line-up. While Australia almost went the entire Aussie summer without a century from a specialist batsman, the Poms collapsed to be all out for 77 in the First Test in Barbados against the Windies.
While the Australian public might have thought an Ashes victory in England was near impossible, particularly given the form of the team, it might just be possible given the inconsistencies of their arch rivals.