Under-fire Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed has vowed to be a better player as he returned home after being handed a four-match ban for a racial slur against a South African player in Durban last week. Sarfraz faced the punishment after the stump mic caught him making a highly inappropriate comment in Urdu about South Africa allrounder Andile Phehlukwayo during the second one-day international.
Sarfraz was heard on the broadcast stump mics saying: “Abey kaale, teri ammi aaj kahaan baitheen hain? Kya parwa ke aaye hai aaj?”
Translated literally that is: “Hey black guy, where’s your mother sitting today? What [prayer] have you got her to say for you today?”
The ICC immediately took action and suspended the Pakistan star for four matches — two one-day internationals and two Twenty20 internationals — of the South African tour. Later, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) expressed disappointment over the punishment — saying it believed a ban was unnecessary because the matter had already been resolved between the two players. The PCB then asked the skipper to return home.
Sarfraz touched down in Pakistan on Tuesday with over hundred fans waiting to welcome him. The fans were holding placards condemning the ICC’s decision. The Pakistan wicketkeeper then interacted with the media, saying that he would improve himself.
“Whatever happened has happened,” Sarfraz told media at the airport. “I accepted my mistake and ICC’s decision is in front of you.
“I will improve myself and my performance in the future and I thank my supporters for their backing,” he added.
In Sarfraz’s absence, Shoaib Malik led the team to an eight wicket win in the fourth match in Johannesburg on Sunday. The five-match series is currently locked at 2-2 with the series-decider to be played on Wednesday. After the ODIs, the two teams will play a three-match T20I series.
Asked about PCB’s decision to recall him, Sarfraz said: “I don’t see anything in it as I was playing cricket for the last five months. I will rest and then play Pakistan Super League.”