Andrew Gale, the Yorkshire captain, has agreed to attend an anger management course to try to curb his on-field outbursts. Although this is embarrassing for the man who led Yorkshire to their first county championship in 13 years, he may consider it a small price to pay for avoiding a charge of racial abuse which the England and Wales Cricket Board has agreed to drop.
Gale, who will also be banned for two first-class matches at the start of next season, faced much heavier censure and the probable loss of his job if he had been found guilty at a disciplinary hearing. He and his lawyers precluded that by seeking a compromise agreement with the ECB.
Thus, both sides save some face. The ECB cannot have been certain it could prove the offence, Gale was willing to take a lesser punishment to prevent the risk of it happening.
Gale was initially charged after an altercation with the Lancashire batsman Ashwell Prince during the Roses match in August. He missed Yorkshire’s final two matches of the season including the title-clinching victory against Nottinghamshire. But the ECB was determined to pursue the issue further and decided he should face a full hearing of the disciplinary commission to answer a charge of racism. Its case was then undermined by Prince who told a South African radio station that he did not think the comments were racist.
The legal sparring that followed seems to have allowed both sides off the hook. It should bring to end an unseemly episode which did not reflect well on the county game. Gale, whose leadership qualities have been frequently lauded this summer, should certainly have known better after a previous misdemeanour in May. The ECB, while clearly being heavy-handed in the aftermath of the affair, is determined to try to curtail abusive behaviour.Reuse content