KARACHI: Pakistan’s cricket team Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed has responded to criticism over his on-field racist taunt at South Africa’s all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo. Standing behind the wickets, mics at the stumps picked up Ahmed saying, “Abay kaalay. Teri ammi aaj kahan baithi hein? Kya parhwa ke aaya hai aaj?” (“Hey black guy. Where’s your mother seated today? What prayer has she made for you today?”)
On Thursday, Ahmed took to Twitter to apologise to “any one who may have taken offense from his expression of frustration which was unfortunately caught by the stump mic”.
“My words were not directed towards anyone in particular,” he added. He was, however, standing behind the wicket, behind a player who happens to be black.
Ahmed went on to state that he did not even mean for his words to be heard or understood.
ICC Anti-Racism Code for Participant states that any player or support staff would deserve a punishment of four to eight suspension points if found guilty of the offense for first time, which can also be termed a four to eight ODI or T20I suspension.
It was feared that the episode might result in the green shirts’ losing their captain for the rest of the matches of the South Africa tour.
Yesterday, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) also tweeted that it regretted the incident. “The PCB expresses regret over the remark made by their captain Sarfaraz 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,” it stated in a press statement.
“This incident has also highlighted the importance and significance of player education and training at all levels. The PCB endeavors to improve their player education programmes to ensure these types of incidents do not happen again,” said PCB in its statement.
PCB also added that it is confident that the incident will not affect the series, which has been played in great spirit with some excellent performances from both sides.
However, social media users were not buying Ahmed’s apology, with some saying that he was sorry for being caught as opposed to his offensive words.