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ICC suspends Sarfaraz Ahmed for racist remarks, PCB ‘disappointed’

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

The ICC have suspended Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed for four games over his racist remarks directed at South Africa’s Andile Phehlukwayo during an ODI between the two teams last week.

Sarfaraz was found to be in violation of ICC’s Anti-Racism Code, and will now miss the remaining two ODIs of the series as well as the first two T20Is against South Africa. Shoaib Malik has been appointed Pakistan captain in Sarfaraz’s absence.

The incident happened in the 37th over of South Africa’s innings when Phehlukwayo edged a Shaheen Afridi delivery and completed a single. Ahmed was recorded on the stump mic saying, “Abey kaale, teri ammi aaj kahaan baitheen hain? Kya parwa ke aaye hai aaj?” which translates to, “Hey black guy, where’s your mother sitting today? What prayer have you got her saying for you today?”

The comment was viewed as racially charged, inviting criticism from many corners including former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who “strongly condemned” the act.

“Sarfaraz aimed a comment at South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo which resulted in Sarfaraz being charged with an offence under the Code,” an ICC release read.

“As per Article 7.3 of the Anti-Racism Code, Sarfaraz 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. The ICC will work with the PCB to determine when and how this should take place.”

However, the Pakistan Cricket Board was not pleased with this decision. In PCB’s view, the matter was “resolved amicably between the two players and the two Boards following Sarfaraz Ahmed’s public apologies which were accepted by the player”.

Ahmed had issued a public apology on Twitter on January 23 for his “expression of frustration” and said he had “no intention of upsetting anyone”. He had also met Phehlukwayo in person on January 25 to apologise and said the South African had accepted his apology.

“The PCB notes the ICC decision on Sarfaraz Ahmed with its utmost disappointment. 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 said in a statement.

“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 behavior.”

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