Gabriel copped a suspension of four ODIs from ICC for breaching the code of conduct. Getty

Shannon Gabriel, the Windies spearhead, has come out with an "unreserved apology" to England skipper Joe Root in relation to the verbal altercation that took place on Day 3 of the St. Lucia Test, and eventually got the fast bowler suspended for four ODIs by the ICC.

The pacer, on his part, released a statement to shed more light about the verbal altercation. He noted that the verbal spat happened in the heat of the moment, when he was trying to find a way past the pressures of Test cricket.

"To my team-mates 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 and sporting banter," Gabriel said. "I know now that it was offensive and for that I am deeply sorry.

"The exchange occurred during a tense moment on the field. 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 unusual psychological strategy with which all Test cricketers are familiar.

"I recognize now that I was attempting to break through my own tension when I said to Joe Root: 'Why are you smiling at me? 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.'"

The pacer from Trinidad was also levied a fine of 75% of his match fee and three demerit points for the Level 2 offence. That relates to a ban from either two Tests or four ODIs or T20Is, whatever comes first.

The quick bowler, who was expected to earn a recall for the later part of the five-match ODI series against England, will resultingly miss the first four matches of the forthcoming rubber, scheduled to commence next week in Barbados.