Ben Stokes has issued an apology after his “unprofessional” verbal altercation with a fan on the opening day of the fourth Test between England and South Africa.
Stokes had just lost his wicket and was walking to the pavilion when he reacted to abuse from a member of the crowd and was caught on camera saying: “Say it to me outside the ground, you f*****g four-eyed c**t.”
In a statement released on Friday evening, Stokes said: “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.
“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.”
Ashley Giles, Managing Director for England Men’s Cricket, added:
“It is disappointing that a member of the public has gone out of their way to abuse Ben as he was leaving the field. Ben is fully aware that he should not have reacted in the way that he did and apologises for his actions.
“In addition to this incident, members of our support staff were subjected to personal abuse during and after the day’s play. 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.”