Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale is first to be charged with 'racist' offence

Gale could face a lengthy ban from the start of next season

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The Independent Online

Andrew Gale, the captain of newly crowned County Champions Yorkshire, has become the first county cricketer to be accused of an offence with racist connotations.

Today, he was charged by the England and Wales Cricket Board over his use of the term “Kolpak” in an outburst against the Lancashire batsman Ashwell Prince, which has already resulted in his suspension. If found guilty, Gale could be banned from a number of matches at the start of next season.

“Kolpak” refers to foreign players who qualify as domestic registrations by virtue of holding EU citizenship or serving a qualifying period of employment.

Gale clashed with Prince during Yorkshire’s match against Lancashire earlier this month, accusing the South African of time-wasting, after which he was reported by the umpires for using language of an “obscene or seriously insulting nature”.

It is alleged that after Prince used colourful language to encourage Gale to return to his position in the field, the latter replied in kind that the “Kolpak” player should go back to his native country.

As a level two breach of the ECB’s disciplinary code, the exchange brought Gale a  six-point penalty which, added to the six points he had incurred for an offence earlier in the season, resulted in his suspension from the final two matches of the season.

The board reserved the right to take further action and will make a case to its own discipline commission that Gale used abusive language with racist connotations by using the word “Kolpak” in relation to Prince, who was the first non-white South African to captain his country.

It is understood that Yorkshire, already seething over the ECB’s refusal to allow Gale to participate officially in the Championship trophy presentation last week, will engage a legal team to contest the charge, which could be heard next week.

On the field today, Durham fast bowler Chris Rushworth earned himself a line in first-class cricket’s record books on an incredible day at Chester-le-Street, where relegated Northamptonshire suffered the biggest humiliation of a catastrophic season.

Durham, the 2013 champions, beat Northants by an innings and 219 runs, with Rushworth taking 15 wickets as their shambolic opponents were bowled out twice in a little over two and a half hours.

The 28-year-old from Sunderland only just missed out on taking all 10 wickets as Northamptonshire crashed to 83 all out in the first innings, on a blameless pitch on which Durham had scored 392.

Rushworth took the first eight wickets to fall, but Ben Stokes denied him the full set when Scott Borthwick held a catch at second slip to remove Maurice Chambers.

As the visitors were blown away for 90 following on, when they succumbed in just 17.2 overs, Rushworth finished with 6 for 43. That gave him match figures of 15 for 95, the best in the county’s history, eclipsing the current Durham bowling coach Alan Walker’s 14 for 117 against Essex in 1995.

In the matches with a bearing on promotion and relegation issues, Middlesex boosted their chances of escaping the drop with the possibility of a draw against Somerset at Taunton. Chris Rogers finished unbeaten on 97 out of 140 for 1 following on, but they remain 160 behind.

A century for Sean Ervine gave Hampshire hopes of drawing with Kent at Southampton as they aim for the second promotion place in the Second Division ahead of Essex.