England allrounder Ben Stokes has apologised for his ‘unprofessional reaction’ after a foul-mouthed rant aimed at a fan following his dismissal in the ongoing fourth Test against South Africa in Johannesburg.

As he was walking towards the England dressing room following being dismissed, Stokes stopped before appearing to say “Come say that to me outside the ground, you f***ing four-eyed c***” in response to a middle-aged man who reportedly likened him to singer Ed Sheeran.

“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,” Stokes said in a statement posted on his official Twitter handle. “As I was leaving the playing area, I was subjected to repeated abuse from the crowd.

He continued, “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.”

Stokes could still face ICC sanction for his use of audible obscenity during an international match which is a Level 1 offence resulting in a possible fine and a demerit point if he is charged by the match referee.

While England’s Director of Cricket Ashley Giles did say Stokes shouldn’t have reacted in that manner, he did claim that he’s not the only member of the touring party to have been abused.

“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.”