Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed on Friday met South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo and apologised after racially abusing him earlier this week. The incident stirred a controversy. Sarfraz’s comments were heard on the stump microphone during Pakistan’s defeat in the second ODI in Durban on Tuesday.
Sarfraz Ahmed has already apologised after his racial abuse directed at Phehlukwayo but on Friday he met the South African all-rounder, who Sarfraz claims to have “accepted” his apology, reported IndiaToday.
“This morning I apologised to Andile Phehlukwayo and he was gracious enough to accept my apology. And I hope the people of South Africa also accept my apology,” Sarfraz tweeted.
South Africa skipper, Faf du Plessis, has also accepted Sarfraz’s apology and said the matter was now in ICC’s hands.
“We forgive him because he said sorry,” du Plessis said after South Africa’s training session on Thursday. “He has apologised and taken responsibility for it. It is out of our hands and ICC will have to deal with it now.”
His comments were widely condemned on social media and former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar asked Sarfraz to apologise.
In line to be sanctioned by ICC, Sarfraz had earlier tweeted out a long apology but it remains to be seen whether that is enough. The world governing body is already investigating the incident.
Sarfraz Ahmed was getting frustrated as Phehlukwayo and opener van der Dussen were stitching a match-winning stand for the sixth wicket after Pakistan had South Africa reeling at 80 for 5 in chase of a modest 204-run target.
In the 37th over the chase, Sarfraz was caught on the stump mic saying: “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 got her to say for you today?]
Sarfraz made the comment even as Phehlukwayo inside-edged a Shaheen Afridi delivery to deep fine leg and was running towards the non-striker’s end.
Pakistan Cricket Board also released a statement expressing regret over Sarfraz’s comments and asserted that PCB does not support such remarks. PCB was confident that the incident will not affect the spirit with which Pakistan and South Africa have competed so far.
“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.
“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.
“Sarfaraz 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 PCB is confident that this incident will not affect the series, which has been played in great spirit with some excellent performances from both side. The PCB is also hopeful that the crowds will continue to turn up in big numbers for the remaining matches to support cricket,” PCB said in a statement.
Notably, the South Africa all-rounder enjoyed a lot of luck as Pakistan had handed him a reprieve only in the previous over via a dropped catch. Phehlukwayo also got an LBW decision against him successfully overturned after using the Decision Review System. Phehlukwayo remained unbeaten on 69 as South Africa gunned down the total with five wickets to spare and levelled the five-match series at 1-1.