West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel was warned by on-field umpires for using abusive language following an interaction with England captain Joe Root during the third day of the third Test in St Lucia on Monday, according to British media reports.
According to the Guardian newspaper, Gabriel's comments were not picked up by stump microphones but Root was heard telling the bowler: "There's nothing wrong with being gay".
Umpires Rod Tucker and Kumar Dharmasena had a word with Gabriel soon after.
Root, who finished the day on 111 not out, refused to divulge what Gabriel said when asked about the incident at the end of day's play, saying it should stay on the field.
"It's Test cricket and (Shannon) is an emotional guy trying to do everything he can to win a Test match. Sometimes people say things on the field that they might regret," the report quoted Root as telling reporters.
"I don't want anything said in the middle to ruin what's been a good Test series for him and his team."
"He's a good guy who plays hard cricket and is proud to be in the position he is. The battle was a good contest."
West Indies' coach Richard Pybus said he was not aware of what transpired but promised to address the issue if anything "untoward" was said.
At the end of day three, England were 325-4 in the second innings, with a commanding lead of 448 runs with Root and Ben Stokes at the crease.
West Indies lead the three-Test series 2-0 after victories in Bridgetown and Antigua.
Injured Starc hopeful of international return
Australian pacer Mitchell Starc, who sustained a pectoral injury during their recently concluded Test series against Sri Lanka, is hoping to make international return during his side one-day tour of UAE, next month.
The 29-year-old, who will be missing Australias tour to India, said that if rehabilitation went as per his plans then he would be available for the UAE tour.
“The UAE tour is around the 15th of March so if all goes to plan I should be pretty sweet to be available for that one. Obviously the boys go to India. Hopefully it's a good tour for them there. I don't think I'll be ready for any stage of that”, Cricket.com.au quoted Starc, as saying.
So it's up to the rehab group and the selectors and see how the rest of this summer goes, he added.
Australia are slated to play a five-match ODI series against Pakistan from March 22 to 31. Before that, the team will travel to India for T20 internationals and a five-match ODI series from February 24 to March 13.
SA seek to continue home dominance
South Africa will be expected to continue their recent dominance over touring sides when they host ailing Sri Lanka in a two-Test series starting at Kingsmead on Wednesday.
Their recent 3-0 sweep of Pakistan was South Africa's seventh successive home test series victory, a run that included a triumph over number one ranked India and a 3-0 whitewash of the Sri Lankans on their last tour in the 2016/17 season.
Although the Kingsmead pitch is expected to be slower and take more turn than it has in the past, the Proteas will be overwhelming favourites against a Sri Lanka side that were well beaten in Australia last month and have not won a game in any format since October.
"Whichever team comes here we're pretty much going to try to dominate them," Proteas spinner Keshav Maharaj told reporters.
"Every series you play you want to be dominant and whitewash the opposition. Playing here, this should be our fortress. When people come here they should be on the back foot when they do take the field."
Maharaj played the first Test against Pakistan but was dropped for the next two as selectors went for an all-seam attack.
He may have more of a role to play in this series, which also includes a Test at St George’s Park in Port Elizabeth, a wicket that traditionally takes turn.
"At Kingsmead it's not your swing and fast bowling wicket that we were used to 10 or 15 years ago. The wicket will wear down and slow down significantly, I would say. I think it's just a patience game at Kingsmead now."
"It's a little bit slower than expected. But with the sun about, it may make the wicket harden up and get a little bit quicker than what we're used to as well."
Sri Lanka have arrived in some disarray, having dropped experienced captain Dinesh Chandimal and with media reporting there are rifts between the board and coach Chandika Hathurusingha, who has been removed as an on-tour selector.
Whatever the nature of the wickets, Hathurusingha acknowledges that the series will depend on how his side handle South Africa’s vaunted pace attack that includes Kagiso Rabada, Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Duanne Olivier.
Wahab Riaz eyes World Cup spot through PSL
Pakistan pacer Wahab Riaz is hoping to cement his spot in the World Cup team through his performance in the upcoming Pakistan Super League (PSL).
The 33-year-old, who has been one of the most impressive bowlers of the PSL, said that the tournament is a good opportunity for him to be a part of the national squad.
PSL is a good opportunity before the World Cup. I have been bowling well in the leagues and “I hope through my performance in the tournament I can become a part of the national squad,” Geo TV quoted Wahab, as saying.
Sure we play a lot of leagues and tournaments but there is nothing that comes close to playing for your country, he added.
Wahab’s team Peshawar Zalmi will play their opening match against Quetta Gladiators but the left-arm bowler said that he is looking forward to bowl against Lahore Qalandar batsman and South Africa star player AB de Villiers.
“AB is one of the most destructive batsmen of the modern era and he is one of my favourite batsmen. I am looking forward to bowling to him. You can expect to see a healthy competition on match-day,” he said.
PSL is slated to be held from February 14 to March 17. While the first leg of the tournament will be held in Dubai, the second leg will shift to Pakistan.