Faf du Plessis said that South Africa have “forgiven” Sarfaraz Ahmed for his taunt since he apologised, but insisted that didn’t mean they were taking the issue of racism lightly.
The Pakistan captain had come in for flak for a racist comment in Urdu directed at Andile Phehlukwayo during the second ODI. He apologised for it on Twitter and the PCB branded it “unacceptable”, but the matter was reported by match-officials to the ICC, and Ahmed could still face sanction.
“We forgive him because he said sorry,” du Plessis said on Thursday, January 24, ahead of the third ODI. “He has apologised and taken responsibility for it. It is out of our hands and ICC will have to deal with it now.”
According to the South Africa captain, the language barrier meant Phehlukwayo didn’t immediately notice the remark or realise that it was directed at him. But, he added, “When you come to South Africa, you have to be very careful when you make racial comments.
The PCB has labelled Sarfaraz Ahmed's comments during the second #SAvPAK ODI 'not acceptable' and reiterated 'their zero-tolerance approach towards racist comments made'.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) January 23, 2019
“I am sure he didn’t mean it like that, but he has taken responsibility and we will have to see what the outcome of that is going to be. We’re not taking it lightly, but that fact that there was an immediate apology shows there is regret. We can forgive but that doesn’t mean we brush it under the table.”
On a lighter note, du Plessis quipped: “We’re a very gracious team. We forgive easily. Maybe not so much when it’s Australia.”