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.”
England director of men’s cricket Ashley Giles said Stokes “should not have reacted in the way he did”.
But he added several members of staff were subject to “personal abuse” during and after play.
“It is disappointing that a member of the public has gone out of their way to abuse Ben as he was leaving the field,” Giles said.
“We have requested to the venue to ensure that security and stewarding are enhanced for the remainder of the match so players and staff members can go about their duties without provocation.”
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.
Ben Stokes appears to call spectator a ‘four-eyed c***’ after Ed Sheeran jibe
South Africa vs England on talkSPORT 2 – Mixed opening day for tourists
Pietersen launches passionate plea to England about treatment of Archer
England falter against South Africa after Crawley and Sibley’s opening stand
South Africa vs England third Test live: Listen as Root and co. chase win
Pietersen and Prior end their feud for talkSPORT… but Flintoff isn’t impressed
South Africa vs England: Listen to day five as tourists close in on victory
England vs South Africa live: How to listen to commentary of day four