Cricket: Shannon Gabriel sorry for asking Joe Root if he 'liked boys'

West Indies paceman Shannon Gabriel has apologised for his homophobic sledge aimed at England captain Joe Root during the third cricket test in St Lucia.

The 30-year-old was charged by the International Cricket Council's (ICC) for the comments he made to skipper Root, who replied: "Don't use it as an insult. There's nothing wrong with being gay."

Gabriel was fined 75 percent of his match fee and handed a four-match ban for the upcoming one-day international series against England.

Gabriel's words weren't known, but the Windies star has revealed what was said in his apology.

"The pressure was on and England's captain Joe Root was looking at me intensely as I prepared to bowl, which may have been the usual psychological strategy with which all test cricketers are familiar," he said.

"I recognise now that I was attempting to break through my own tension when I said to Joe Root: 'Why are you smiling? Do you like boys?'

"His response, which was picked up by the microphone was: 'Don't use it as an insult. There's nothing wrong with being gay.'

"I then responded: 'I have no issues with that, but you should stop smiling at me'."

"I know now that it was offensive and for that I am deeply sorry.

"To my teammates and members of the England team, especially their captain Joe Root, I extend an unreserved apology for a comment, which in the context of on-the-field rivalry, I assumed, was inoffensive sporting banter."

Gabriel added that both he and Root had since spoken to clear the air between the pair.

"Joe Root and I have since spoken, and I am comforted by the fact that there are no hard feelings between us.

"I think it is fair to say that neither of us ever expected the issue to escalate to the point that it has.

"Nonetheless, I embrace this as a learning experience and as an opportunity for myself and all athletes to recognise the need for sensitivity and respect in their interactions with all."