Pakistan Captain Suspended

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Dubai: Pakistan captain Sarfraz has been suspended for four matches over his racist comments against South Africa’s Andile Phehlukwayo, the International Cricket Council said on Sunday. Sarfaraz will miss the remaining two matches of the ongoing ODI series as well as the first two matches of the subsequent T20I series, starting February 1.

Pakistan were without Sarfraz Ahmed in the ongoing fourth ODI of a five-match series against South Africa in Johannesburg. In Sarfraz’s absence, veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik walked out for the toss on Sunday.

An ICC media release said: “Sarfaraz aimed a comment at South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo which resulted in Sarfaraz being charged with an offence under the Code, namely: Engaging in any conduct (whether through the use of language, gestures or otherwise) which is likely to offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, threaten, disparage or vilify any reasonable person in the position of a Player, Player Support Personnel, Umpire, Match Referee, Umpire Support Personnel or any other person (including a spectator) on the basis of their race, religion, culture, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin.”

“We wanted him, but the incident … we all know what has happened. I don’t want to comment on it. But they’ve given me this opportunity, and I want to do my best,” stand-in captain Shoiab Malik said.

Sarfraz kicked up a storm when he came up with a racist jibe at Andile Phehlukwayo during the second ODI of the series on Tuesday. “Abey kaale, teri ammi aaj kahaan baitheen hain? Kya parwa ke aaye hai aaj?” [Hey black guy, where’s your mother sitting today? What (prayer) have you got her to say for you today?]”

Sarfraz was getting frustrated even as Phehlukwayo and opener van der Dussen were stitching a match-winning stand for the sixth wicket after Pakistan had South Africa reeling at 80 for 5 in chase of a modest 204-run target.

Sarfraz had apologised for his comments on social media. The Champions Trophy-winning Pakistan captain also personally apologised to Phehlukwayo earlier this week. He took to social media to share a photograph of his meeting with the South Africa all-rounder.

The Pakistan Cricket Board also released a statement expressing regret over Sarfraz’s comments and asserted that PCB does not support such remarks. PCB was confident that the incident will not affect the spirit with which Pakistan and South Africa have competed so far.