South Africa v Pakistan ODI - Men's
Sarfraz banned for racist remark
Pakistan skipper to miss four matches after accepting he breached the ICC's Anti-Racism Code
27 January 2019, 09:57 PM AEST
UPDATE: Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has returned home from South Africa after he was suspended for four matches by the International Cricket Council for breaching the game’s Anti-Racism Code.
The Pakistan Cricket Board have expressed their “utmost disappointment” with the decision and said they will pursue the ICC about making reforms to the code.
During the second ODI against South Africa last week, Sarfraz was heard making a comment in Urdu about Proteas allrounder Andile Phehlukwayo during the South African’s match-winning partnership.
Sarfraz’s comment, which was broadcast by the stump microphone, has been translated as: "Hey black guy, where's your mother sitting today? What (prayer) have you got her to say for you today?"
The Pakistan skipper was charged under the Anti-Racism Code, which incorporates “any conduct … which is likely to offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, threaten, disparage or vilify … on the basis of their race, religion, culture, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin”.
“The ICC has a zero-tolerance policy towards conduct of this nature,” ICC chief Dave Richardson said.
“Sarfaraz 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.”
Having been ruled out of the final two ODIs against the Proteas and the first two T20s, Sarfraz has returned home. Shoaib Malik will captain the side in his absence.
Last week, Sarfraz apologised in person to Phehlukwayo having earlier posted an apology on social media.
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
2/3 - I certainly had no intention of upsetting anyone. I did not even mean for my words to be heard, understood or communicated to the opposing team or the cricket fans. I have in the past and will continue in future to appreciate the camaraderie of my fellow cricketers from...— Sarfaraz Ahmed (@SarfarazA_54) January 23, 2019
3/3 - ...across the globe and will always respect and honour them on and off the field.— Sarfaraz Ahmed (@SarfarazA_54) January 23, 2019
This led to the PCB’s strong reaction, who believed the matter had been settled once Sarfraz’s apology had been accepted by Phehlukwayo and the Proteas.
“The PCB notes the ICC decision on Sarfaraz Ahmed with its utmost disappointment,” a 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 (sic).”
The skipper’s suspension became apparent when he did not emerge for the coin toss in Johannesburg today, with veteran Shoaib Malik joining Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis in the middle of The Wanderers.
The ICC later confirmed the ban in a statement.
The ICC also said "Sarfraz will also have to undergo an education programme to promote the understanding and awareness of issues directly relevant to the offence that he has committed".