–PCB ‘disappointed with ICC’s decision’ of four-match suspension for breaching anti-racism code
DUBAI: Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has been suspended for four matches for breaching the anti-racism code in Tuesday’s second one-day international against South Africa, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Sunday.
Sarfraz’s on-field taunt in Urdu was caught by stump microphones but he denied that they were aimed at South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo or anyone else in an apology he issued on Thursday.
Cricket’s world governing body said that Sarfraz later accepted that he had breached the ICC’s anti-racism code for participants.
“The ICC has a zero-tolerance policy towards conduct of this nature,” ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said.
“Sarfraz has admitted the offence, was regretful of his actions and has issued a public apology, so these factors were taken into account when determining an appropriate sanction.”
Sarfraz later tweeted that he had apologised to Phehlukwayo, sharing a picture of him shaking hands with the South African.
“He was gracious enough to accept my apology and I hope the people of South Africa also accept my apology,” he said.
Sarfraz will miss the remaining two matches of the ongoing ODI series, with Shoaib Malik leading the side in Sunday’s fourth match, as well as the first two matches of the Twenty20 series to follow.
The ICC said Sarfraz will undergo a programme to educate him on issues directly relevant to the offence he had committed and would work with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to determine when and how this would take place.
PCB NOT PLEASED:
After the announcement by the council, PCB released a statement, saying it was “disappointed with ICC’s decision”.
“The PCB notes the ICC decision on Sarfraz Ahmed with its utmost disappointment. PCB had anticipated that the matter had been resolved amicably between the two players and the two Boards following Sarfraz Ahmed’s public apologies which were accepted by the player, the Board and South Africa cricket team,” said the statement by the board.
“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.
“In consultation with Sarfraz, it has been decided that he will return to Pakistan immediately. Shoaib Malik will captain the team for the remaining ODIs and T20 internationals of the series, while Mohammad Rizwan has been included in the T20I side.”
It is pertinent to mention that the Code talks about the option of conciliation under Article 4.3, saying: “[…] provided that the ICC consents to the matter being resolved by a process of conciliation.”