Andrew Gale, the captain of the County Championship favourites Yorkshire, has been banned from the last two matches of the season and may face further punishment after using what the England and Wales Cricket Board described as language of an “obscene or seriously insulting nature” towards the Lancashire batsman Ashwell Prince in the match at Old Trafford that ended yesterday.
Gale was seen to engage in a verbal exchange with Prince, the South African who was the first non-white player to captain his country during a 66-Test international career, as the players left the field at the end of the third day. It is understood that the comments were not of a racist nature.
Umpires Steve Garratt and Steve O’Shaughnessy reported the incident to the ECB, which said last night that Gale had committed a level two breach of its disciplinary code by “using language or gesture that is obscene or of a serious insulting nature to another player, umpire, referee, team official or spectator”.
A level two breach incurs a six-point disciplinary penalty and, added to the six points already on Gale’s record for showing “serious dissent” in a match earlier in the season, the latest offence triggers an automatic suspension under the ECB’s totting-up system for reaching 12 points within a 24-month period.
As a consequence, Gale is “suspended from all cricket under the jurisdiction of the ECB until and including Friday, September 27, 2014 – a period which covers Yorkshire’s next two First XI fixtures”, according to the ECB statement.
The governing body’s statement made reference to the provision that allows “the Cricket Discipline Commission [to] also consider whether any further action needs to be taken in relation to Mr Gale”. That suggests the board may look again at what was allegedly said by Gale.
Lancashire’s captain, Glen Chapple, said last night that the county consider the incident “closed” after Gale apologised to them.
Yorkshire would make no statement beyond the county’s coach Jason Gillespie commenting that “Andrew Gale is our leader and for him to be missing the last two games is devastating for him”.
The incident tempered Yorkshire’s exuberance at completing an innings victory over Lancashire that stretches their lead at the top of the First Division to 26 points following Nottinghamshire’s defeat by Durham at Chester-le-Street yesterday.
The games Gale will miss are against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge next week and Somerset at Headingley on 23 September, although his absence coincides with the availability of England pair Joe Root and Gary Ballance for the first time since May.