Lancashire batsman Ashwell Prince has revealed he did not consider there to be a racist element to the verbal abuse delivered to him by Yorkshire captain Andrew Gale.
Gale was banned for two matches after being reported by umpires for his part in an unseemly bust-up at the end of the third day’s play in the Roses match earlier this month.
That punishment was then extended by the England and Wales Cricket Board to prevent Gale playing an active part in lifting the LV= County Championship trophy following Yorkshire’s victory at Trent Bridge last week.
Subsequent reports indicated that Gale had referred to South African Prince as a “f***ing Kolpak” and that the racial connotations of the term were key to the charge.
The phrase Kolpak refers to a Maros Kolpak, a handball player who set in motion a legal precedent that now allows some foreign-born cricketers to play in England under the laws of the European Union.
Yorkshire are backing their man staunchly and will surely have taken note of a revealing interview given by Prince to South African station Ballz Radio.
In it he admitted time-wasting, explained he was unhappy with the aggressive nature of the abuse Gale responded with but appeared unmoved by suggestions of racism.
“I took offence to the way he spoke to me, that’s the bottom line,” Prince told the broadcaster. “The way the guy approached me and spoke to me, that’s what I took offence to. I didn’t stand there and think, ‘That may be a racial slur’.
“What happened was the guy walked towards me and had a go at me and I defended myself. If the ECB feels there’s racial connotations to it, that’s up to them to do whatever they want to do.
“It’s gone all out of control at the moment.
“People are calling me a cry baby, but at the end of the day I want to clear it up, I didn’t report this guy to the ECB, the umpires did.”
Prince did concede that his gamesmanship had clearly affected Gale but is content with his own conduct.
“He’s taken offence to this - it’s a ploy of time-wasting, I’ll admit it, but everyone who has ever played the game has done it, it’s nothing new,” Prince said.
“The experienced player I am, I was stood in the middle of the pitch tying up my thigh pad and taking as long as possible to make sure there would only be one more over.
“He’s come from backward point to silly point, walking in my direction, and hurled a whole lot of abuse at me. Those who know me and those who have played against me know I will not tolerate that type of thing. I defended myself and whatever was said, was said.
“The umpires felt whatever he said was out of order and reported him. If they felt anything I said was out of order they would have reported me as well.”
Gale is expected to be at Headingley throughout his side’s final championship game of the season against Somerset next week, with a disciplinary hearing initially slated for Tuesday pushed back to allow for all the relevant parties to be involved.