Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has been banned for four games by the ICC, but the PCB have decided that he should miss the rest of the SA tour. Photo: Themba Hadebe/AP

JOHANNESBURG – Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed will play no further part in his side’s tour of South Africa after he was suspended by the International Cricket Council on Sunday, following the racial slur he directed at Andile Phehlukwayo during the second ODI with South Africa in Durban last week.

The ICC had announced a four-match suspension for Sarfraz, starting with Sunday’s fourth ODI with South Africa at the Wanderers.

But following consultation with the Pakistan Cricket Board, Sarfraz decided to return home.

The Pakistan Cricket Board said it was “disappointed” with the punishment handed down to Sarfraz.

“The PCB notes the ICC decision on Sarfraz Ahmed with utmost disappointment,” it said in a statement.

“The 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 the South Africa cricket team.”

During the 37th over of the South African innings in the Kingsmead ODI last Tuesday, after Phehlukwayo had hit a four off the inside edge of his bat, the stump mics picked up Sarfraz saying in Urdu: “Hey black guy, where’s your mother sitting today? What (prayer) have you got her to say for you today?”

Following the incident, initially reported by and subsequently investigated by match referee Ranjan Madugalle, the ICC General Counsel Iain Higgins then determined that the Pakistan skipper had a case to answer under the ICC’s Anti-Racism Code.

Sarfraz was found to have breached the Article 2 of the Code by “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”.

The ICC said in their statement that Sarfraz would “also have to undergo an education programme to promote the understanding and awareness of issues directly relevant to the offence that he has committed”.

The ICC will work with the Pakistan Cricket Board to determine when and how this should take place.

However, the PCB shot back. “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.”

The suspension follows a week of mismanagement of the incident by the PCB and Sarfraz in which they both initially seemed to regret that Sarfraz had been caught making the offensive comment on the stump mic.

It was only on Friday that Sarfraz extended a personal apology to Phehlukwayo.

Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis said earlier that the South Africa team had already forgiven the Pakistan captain.

“He’s taken responsibility for it. When you come to South Africa, you need to be very careful with making racial comments,” said Du Plessis.

Shoaib Malik will captain Pakistan for the remainder of the tour.


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