Faf du Plessis says Proteas have forgiven Sarfraz Ahmed's race slur
Speaking ahead of the third match of the series in Centurion today, Du Plessis said the side had been shocked when they first became aware of Ahmed’s comments, but that it was now up to the International Cricket Council to deal with it. The ICC was expected to make an announcement on the outcome of its inquiry soon.
“We did forgive him because he said 'Sorry',” Du Plessis said yesterday. “He’s taken responsibility. When you come to South Africa, you need to be very careful with making racial comments.
“We are a very gracious team; we forgive easily, maybe not so much when it’s Australia,” Du Plessis quipped.
There was no word from the Pakistan camp, with a team official saying they were still awaiting official word from the ICC about any possible sanctions Ahmed could face.
Shaheen Shah Afridi, 18, their fast bowler, refused to answer questions about the affair, with a burly security official saying Afridi was not allowed to answer and stopping local journalists from enquiring about the touring team’s stance on the controversy.
Ahmed took to Twitter late on Wednesday to issue his apology - although he did not specifically mention the Proteas team or Phehlukwayo. “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,” the Pakistan captain wrote on the social media platform.
“My words were not directed towards anyone in particular. 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."
During the 37th over of the South African innings, after Phehlukwayo had hit a four, the stump mics picked up Ahmed saying: “Abey kaale, teri ammi aaj kahaan baitheen hain? Kya parwa ke aaye hai aaj?” That translates to: “Hey black guy, where’s your mother sitting today? What (prayer) have you got her to say for you today?”
The Pakistan Cricket Board said it regretted the incident but, like Ahmed, no apology was made directly to Phehlukwayo, the SA team or Cricket SA. “The PCB reiterates its zero-tolerance towards racist comments any hurtful remarks by any cricketer, let alone the captain, are not acceptable."