Sarfraz banned for racist comments

Sports Desk

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has suspended Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed for four matches for the racist comments he directed at South Africa’s Andile Phehlukwayo during the Durban ODI.

The ICC press release was delayed and came half an hour after the players had already been revealed for today’s fourth ODI’s toss in Johannesburg. Shoaib Malik is captaining Pakistan in Sarfraz’s absence. 

Commenting on the team, Malik aid: “We wanted him (Sarfraz), but the incident… we all know what has happened. I don’t want to comment about it. But they’ve given me this opportunity, and I want to do my best.”

South African captain Faf du Plessis had first revealed Sarfraz’s ban during the toss saying: “We hear it’s a four-match ban.”

The ban means Sarfraz will miss the final two ODIs against South Africa, and two of the three T20s that follow. Mohammad Rizwan will keep wickets for Pakistan in the remaining ODIs and T20 series.

The ICC press release also mentioned that Sarfraz will have to attend “an education programme to promote the understanding and awareness of issues directly relevant to the offence that he has committed”.

During the 2nd ODI in Durban, while Phehlukwayo was batting, Sarfraz was heard on the broadcast stump mics saying in Urdu: “Abey kaale, teri ammi aaj kahaan baitheen hain? Kya parwa ke aaye hai aaj?”

Translated literally it means: “Hey black guy, where’s your mother sitting today? What prayer have you got her to say for you today?”

“The ICC has a zero-tolerance policy towards conduct of this nature. 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.”

David Richardson, ICC CEO

After widespread criticism, Sarfraz apologized twice for the incident, first a general apology on twitter and then a personal apology to Phehlukwayo. Sarfraz tweeted a picture of himself shaking hands with Phehlukwayo two days ago with the caption: “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.”

ICC CEO David Richardson said Sarfraz’s apology was taken into account when deciding 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.”

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