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‘I had no intention of upsetting anyone’ – Sarfaraz issues apology

by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed has apologised after being criticised for ‘racist’ comments caught on the stump mic during the second ODI against South Africa.

The comments came during South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo’s innings of 69 not out, which secured the hosts victory. Sarfaraz’s comments referenced the chancy nature of the innings and also Phehlukwayo’s skin colour.

He was heard saying in Urdu: “Abey kaale, teri ammi aaj kahaan baitheen hain? Kya parwa ke aaye hai aaj?” which means, in translation, “Hey black guy, where’s your mother sitting today? What prayer have you got her saying for you today?”

Phehlukwayo and Sarfaraz in action during the second ODI

He was roundly criticised for the comments, and the matter could be taken up by the match officials under the ICC Anti-Racism Policy for International Cricket. As per the policy document: “The ICC and all of its Members should not at any time offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, threaten, disparage, vilify or unlawfully discriminate between persons based on their race, religion, culture, colour, descent, and/or national or ethnic origin.”

The sanction for such an act, if Sarfaraz is found guilty, can vary. But the ICC says on its website: “On-field racism is considered one of the most serious acts that can be committed, with the possibility of a life ban for anyone found guilty of such an offence.”

Sarfaraz has since issued an apology on Twitter. “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,” he said. “My words were not directed towards anyone in particular and 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 across the globe and will always respect and honour them on and off the field.”

This apology too has come in for criticism from some Pakistani pundits, with PakPassion’s editor Saj Sadiq saying: “This apology makes it look like he is more annoyed that his words were caught by the stump mic, than genuinely sorry about his actions.”

The third ODI is set for Friday, January 25.

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