Sarfraz Ahmed, the captain of Pakistan Cricket Team, has been suspended by ICC for the next four matches after his racist comment at South Africa’s all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo during the ODI in Durban.
Sarfraz however, will not be a part of the final two ODIs against South Africa. Along with these two, he will be missed the two of the three-match T20I series as well which is scheduled to start from February 1. In his absence in the team, veteran Shoaib Malik will lead the team.
During the second ODI against South Africa in Durban, when Phehlukwayo steadied the ship and got the run chase back on track, Sarfraz was heard commenting on him on the broadcast stump mics, saying in Urdu:
“Abey kaale, teri ammi aaj kahaan baitheen hain? Kya parwa ke aaye hai aaj?”
Which can be translated like this: “Hey black guy, where’s your mother sitting today? What [prayer] have you got her to say for you today?”
After that incident, Sarfraz has apologized twice. the first apology came in general, but the second one came after the match day. He took to Twitter and commented that it was not directed to anybody.
“not directed towards anyone in particular,” said Sarfraz .
1/2 – I wish to extend my sincere apologies to any person who may have taken offence from my expression of frustration which was unfortunately caught by the stump mic during yesterday's game against SA. My words were not directed towards anyone in particular and…
— Sarfaraz Ahmed (@SarfarazA_54) January 23, 2019
After that, before two days, the 31-year-old cricketer again wrote on Twitter, posted a picture of himself with Phehlukwayo while shaking hands, and captioned that he apologized to Phehlukwayo and the batsman was too generous that he accepted the apology.
“This morning I apologised to Andile Phehlukwayo and he was gracious enough to accept my apology and I hope the people of South Africa also accept my apology.”
This morning I apologised to Andile Phehlukwayo and he was gracious enough to accept my apology .and I hope the people of South Africa also accept my apology. pic.twitter.com/bco00dGumR
— Sarfaraz Ahmed (@SarfarazA_54) January 25, 2019
However, Sarfraz Ahmed has been penalized under the code of Anti-Racism, where it states:
“Engaging in any conduct (whether through the use of language, gestures or otherwise) which is likely to offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, threaten, disparage or vilify any reasonable person in the position of a Player, Player Support Personnel, Umpire, Match Referee, Umpire Support Personnel or any other person (including a spectator) on the basis of their race, religion, culture, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin.”
Meanwhile, the world got to know about Sarfraz ‘s absence from the fourth ODI at the time when Malik went for the toss in his place; where he stated that he wouldn’t comment on the previous incident and will try to do justice with the responsibility which he was given.
“We wanted him [Sarfraz], but the incident… we all know what has happened,” Malik commented. “I don’t want to comment about it. But they’ve given me this opportunity, and I want to do my best.”
Malik later expressed that he only got to know that he would be leading the team on the morning of the match itself.
“When we got to the ground, that’s when I came to know I’m captaining the side. It’s a great honour to represent your country as a captain or a player, and whenever the opportunity comes to you should give your best shot. And that’s what I did,” he said.
The Pakistan captain got punished after five days of the incident which allowed him to play the third ODI in Cape Town. Prior to the game, South Africa captain du Plessis said that his team had forgiven Sarfraz for the comments. But later it was only the captain Faf du Plessis who first commented on Sarfraz’s four-match suspension during his toss interview.
“We’ve heard that he’s out for four games,” du Plessis said.
After the incident, the ICC release said that Pakistan captain will have to attend
“an education programme to promote the understanding and awareness of issues directly relevant to the offence that he has committed”.
However, David Richardson, the CEO of ICC expressed that his apology has taken into account while deciding on his penalty.
“The ICC has a zero-tolerance policy towards conduct of this nature,” he said. “Sarfraz has promptly admitted the offence, was regretful of his actions and has issued a public apology, so these factors were taken into account when determining an appropriate sanction.”
After the verdict by ICC, PCB has announced that they were not satisfied with the decision of the suspension and further added that Sarfraz will not take part further and return to Pakistan immediately. As the team didn’t include any back-up wicketkeeper in their T20 squad, Mohammad Rizwan, who played as the wicketkeeper-batsman in Johannesburg, will play in the T20I series as well. Shoaib Malik will captain the team in the T20I series also in Sarfraz ‘s absence.
“The PCB notes the ICC decision on Sarfraz Ahmed with its utmost disappointment,” the PCB statement read. “PCB had anticipated that the matter had been resolved amicably between the two players and the two Boards following Sarafraz Ahmed’s public apologies which were accepted by the player, the Board and South Africa cricket team.”
“The PCB will be pursuing this matter at the ICC forums with the objective to bring reforms to the Code, promoting amicable resolutions to issues as opposed to penalties. Having said that, the PCB reiterates its zero-tolerance approach towards racist comments and behaviour.”