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‘Utter nonsense’ – PCB chairman criticises Sarfaraz suspension

by Wisden Staff 4 minute read

Ehsan Mani, chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), has criticised the ICC’s decision to impose a four-match ban on Sarfaraz Ahmed after he was found in breach of the governing body’s anti-racism code.

The Pakistan skipper received the ban after he was caught on stump-mic making racist remarks to South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo during the second ODI at Durban last week.

Sarfaraz subsequently apologised for his comments on both social media as well as to Phehlukwayo in person.

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Mani revealed his disappointment at the decision to impose a ban on Sarfaraz, after regrets had been expressed by both the player and the board. Furthermore, Mani also stated that Phehlukwayo had refused the offer of engaging in an ICC-led reconciliation process, with the PCB believing the matter to be closed.

“So as far as we were concerned, an apology had been tendered and accepted and the only question was whether Sarfaraz deserved any punishment,” said Mani.

“I had already said we should pull Sarfaraz out for 2-3 games. I felt very strongly that this has to be a strong message for everyone.”

The PCB released a statement after the ICC’s announcement of the suspension on 27 January, which said: “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 Sarfaraz Ahmed’s public apologies which were accepted by the player, the Board and South Africa cricket team.”

Mani detailed the displeasure of the board, saying: “We had cleared the air. So common sense should have meant that was the end of the matter.

“Our statements and apologies were public. This is not something you brush under the table, it has to be dealt with openly and transparently. We did all of that. But because ICC couldn’t get the two players in a room together, they said let’s charge him. And that to my mind is utter nonsense.”

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