The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Thursday expressed regret over racist slurs by national team captain Sarfraz Ahmed against South African pacer Andile Phehlukwayo.
“The PCB expresses regret over the remark made by their captain Sarfraz Ahmed and picked up by the stump mic during the second ODI against South Africa in Durban. The PCB neither endorses nor supports any comments that have the potential to cause offence, and firmly reiterates their zero-tolerance approach towards racist comments made in whatever context,” the PCB said in a statement.
“This incident has also highlighted the importance and significance of player education and training at all levels. The PCB endeavours to improve their player education programmes to ensure these types of incidents do not happen again,” it added.
The incident happened during the 37th over of the second One-Day International (ODI) between South Africa and Pakistan in Durban on Tuesday.
As Phehlukwayo ambled across to the non-striker’s end while taking a single, the Pakistan captain could be clearly heard saying on the stump mike: “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 said today?).
Condemning Sarfraz for his comments, the PCB hoped that the incident will not affect the tour, which will feature another three ODIs and an equal number of Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is).
“Sarfraz is one of the most respected cricketers in the world. However, captaining Pakistan is a massive honour and any hurtful remarks by any cricketer, let alone the captain, are not acceptable to the PCB,” the statement said.
“The PCB is confident that this incident will not affect the series, which has been played in great spirit with some excellent performances from both sides. The PCB is also hopeful that the crowds will continue to turn up in big numbers for the remaining matches to support cricket.”
Sarfraz had also issued an apology on Wednesday night, saying that he didn’t intend to hurt anyone’s feelings and said that the incident was a fallout of growing frustration.
“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 during yesterday’s game against SA. My words were not directed towards anyone in particular and I certainly had no intention of upsetting anyone,” Sarfraz wrote on Twitter.
“I did not even mean for my words to be heard, understood or communicated to the opposing team or the cricket fans. I have in the past and will continue in future to appreciate the camaraderie of my fellow cricketers from…across the globe and will always respect and honour them on and off the field,” he added.
It sparked off a storm of criticism on social media with a host of people condemning Sarfraz’s comment.
Former star fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar called on Sarfraz to tender an apology to Phehlukwayo.