Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani believes that the decision of International Cricket Council to hand over a four-match ban to Sarfaraz Ahmed following a racial remarks controversy, involving South African pacer Andile Phehlukwayo, is “utter nonsense”.
Mani said that they made public apologies and dealt with the matter openly but since the ICC “could not get the two players involved in a room together”, they charged Sarfaraz and banned him.
“We made an apology at all levels and it had been accepted by everyone. We have a good relationship with CSA (Cricket South Africa). For the ICC to jump in because Phehlukwayo was upset and didn’t want a reconciliation process, [and to feel they] have to charge Sarfaraz, that’s where I think a bit of nonsense comes into this. What else can you achieve by sitting them in a room? They’re not school children,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Mani, as saying.
“This is my issue that they sat on it. Our statements and apologies were public. This is not something you brush under the table, it has to be dealt with openly and transparently. We did all of that. But because ICC couldn’t get the two players in a room together, they said let’s charge him. And that to my mind is utter nonsense,” he added.
Mani admitted that the comment made by Sarafraz was “distasteful” in nature and assured that the Pakistani skipper will be spoken to about the issue.
“Unfortunately, somewhere the message to the players has gotten missed, or it hasn’t sunk in, or too much time went by without further refreshing. It is a distasteful comment to make at any level. The sensitivity in South Africa is understandably very high and it was disappointing the captain made that comment – any player but the leader of the team more so,” Mani said.
“Obviously Sarfaraz will be spoken to. The whole team will be told that you have to be very careful. It is also a bit of a cultural issue – the word that he used, in Pakistan it would be ignored. That doesn’t mean the culture is right but the tone wasn’t in any way vicious or vindictive,” he added.
Sarfaraz was handed over a four-match suspension by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for hurling racial remarks at Phehlukwayo during their second ODI in Durban.
He was picked up by the stump mic saying, “Hey black [man], where is your mother sitting? What prayer did you get her to say for you today? (Abay kaalay, teri ammi aaj kahan baitheen hain? Kya parhwa ke aya hai aaj tu?)”.
As the issue raked up, the batsman had apologised personally to Phehlukwayo and had also issued a public apology.