England all-rounder Ben Stokes has apologised for his foul-mouthed row with a spectator following his dismissal in Friday's test against South Africa at The Wanderers.
Stokes was shown on TV 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.
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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.
The 28-year-old now 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.
Stokes had called the spectator a ‘f***ing four-eyed c***’ as he departed the field of play.
England claim support staff also abused by crowd
There was no immediate confirmation of any charge after England reached 4-192 when bad light stopped play.
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.
#SAvENG England all-rounder Ben Stokes has apologised for his "unprofessional reaction" after an altercation with a member of the crowd during the fourth Test against South Africa. pic.twitter.com/tBfGCtAMmh— EWN Sport (@EWNsport) January 25, 2020
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.
A plastic casing was built for the walkway after Australia tailender Merv Hughes swung his bat in anger at a spectator who insulted him in 1994.
Previously it was fenced off, allowing spectators to abutt the walkway and insult players close-up as they walked past.
TV pictures did not show Stokes being insulted but did show him swearing in response to obvious provocation.