Gibbs banned for two Tests over remarks

Top South African batsman Herschelle Gibbs has been banned for two Tests for making derogatory remarks about Pakistanis during Sunday's play in the first Test.

Match referee Chris Broad announced the punishment yesterday after a hearing which followed South Africa's seven-wicket win.

International Cricket Council (ICC) chief executive Malcolm Speed laid the charge under the governing body's code of conduct after racist and abusive remarks were picked up on a stump microphone at Centurion.

"Gibbs has been charged under Level 3,3 of the Code which prohibits using 'any language or gesture that offends, insults, humiliates, intimidates, threatens, disparages or vilifies another person on the basis of that person's race, religion, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin'," an ICC statement said.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) earlier released a statement saying Gibbs would appear at a separate, internal disciplinary hearing.

"CSA has investigated the matter, and we have heard the remarks made by Herschelle Gibbs in response to verbal abuse directed by a number of Pakistan supporters at Paul Harris while he was fielding on the boundary," the statement quoted CSA chief executive Gerald Majola as saying.

"Herschelle says these remarks were for the ears only of his teammates in his proximity, and were directed in general terms at that section of the crowd that had verbally abused Paul Harris," Majola added. "He has apologised if he has caused offence to anyone."

Two spectators agreed to leave the stadium on Sunday after they admitted to swearing at spinner Harris.

The second Test against Pakistan starts in Port Elizabeth on Friday. - Reuters