England vice-captain Ben Stokes has taken to social media to apologise for his ‘unprofessional reaction’ after being subjected to ‘repeated abuse from the crowd’ during the fourth Test against South Africa.
The 28-year-old used expletives towards a spectator as he made his way off the field after being dismissed for two, with the footage captured on camera.
“I wish to apologise for my language that was heard on the live broadcast today after my dismissal,” Stokes said.
“I should not have reacted in that way.”
Stokes edged a drive to Rassie van der Dussen at first slip off Anrich Nortje to leave England 157-4 in Johannesburg.
England posted their first opening stand in more than three years on Friday, but were left frustrated after then losing four wickets for 50 runs.
Stokes appeared enraged by the nature of the the comments that were hurled at him – which are understood to have included expletives as well as a reference to red-haired pop singer Ed Sheeran – and responded with a colourful volley of his own.
In a statement released on Friday evening, Stokes addressed the abuse he received as he made his way towards the tunnel.
“I admit 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,” he said.
“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.”
Under the International Cricket Council’s code of conduct, the ‘use of an audible obscenity during an international match’ is a level one offence.
A level one offence carries the punishment of a fine of up to 50 per cent of a player’s match fee and up to two demerit points.
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