Stokes in foul-mouthed altercation with spectator

By Mark Gleeson
Reuters
South Africa v England - Fourth Test
South Africa v England - Fourth Test

By Mark Gleeson

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - England all-rounder Ben Stokes apologised for a foul-mouthed row with a spectator after his dismissal in Friday’s test against South Africa at The Wanderers as he faces possible sanctions while England asked for extra security for players and staff.

Stokes was shown on television exchanging insults with a middle aged man as he walked off the field after being caught cheaply for two runs in England’s first innings on the opening day of the fourth test at the Johannesburg venue, known as ‘the bullring’ for its often hostile atmosphere.

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In a statement Stokes said he was sorry, while Ashley Giles Managing Director for England Men’s Cricket, added other England personnel had been abused and issued a strong condemnation.

Giles has made a request for the stadium to beef up security around the England team.

“I wish to apologise for my language that was heard on the live broadcast today after my dismissal. I should not have reacted in that way,” said Stokes.

“As I was leaving the playing area, I was subjected to repeated abuse from the crowd.

“I admit that my reaction was unprofessional, and I sincerely apologise for the language I used, especially to the many young fans watching the live telecast around the world.

“Throughout the Tests so far, the support from both sets of fans (England and South Africa) has been brilliant. One incident will not ruin such a competitive series, which we are determined to win,” he added.


PERSONAL ABUSE

Giles stressed that Stokes was not the only one to suffer abuse.

“In addition to this incident, members of our support staff were subjected to personal abuse during and after the day’s play," he said.

"We have requested to the venue to ensure that security and stewarding are enhanced for the remainder of the match so that players and staff members can go about their duties without provocation,” Giles added.

The 28-year-old Stokes faces being charged by the International Cricket Council with a level one offence of “use of an audible obscenity” and a possible fine and demerit point if the match referee decides to charge him.

There was no immediate confirmation of any charge after England reached 192 for four when bad light stopped play.

Stokes is the latest in a long list of players to have spats with spectators at The Wanderers, where there is a long walk from the dressing rooms to the pitch, alongside a grassy bank often filled with boozy spectators.

Television pictures did not show Stokes being insulted but did show him swearing in response to obvious provocation.


(Editing by Ken Ferris)

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