Pakistan cricket captain Sarfraz Ahmed suspended for racist taunt

Sarfraz Ahmed's taunt in Urdu was caught by stump mics but he denied they were aimed at South Africa Andile Phehlukwayo.

    The ICC confirmed Sarfraz was guilty of a breach of the sport's anti-racism code [Kamran Jebreili/AP]
    The ICC confirmed Sarfraz was guilty of a breach of the sport's anti-racism code [Kamran Jebreili/AP]

    Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has been suspended for four matches for breaching the anti-racism code in Tuesday's second one-day international against South Africa, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Sunday.

    Ahmed's on-field taunt in Urdu was caught by stump microphones. In an apology he issued on Thursday, Ahmed said that his comments were not aimed at South Africa's all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo, or anyone else.

    During the game, Ahmed was heard saying "hey black [man], where is your mother sitting, what prayer did you get her to say for you today?" in Urdu as Phehlukwayo ran off to the non-striker's end in the 37th over.

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    Ahmed's actions drew fierce criticism and, as the video of the incident was widely circulated online, many Twitter users called on the Pakistani cricketer to apologise.

    Cricket's world governing body said that Ahmed later accepted that he had breached the ICC's anti-racism code for participants.

    "The ICC has a zero-tolerance policy towards conduct of this nature," ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said.

    "Sarfraz has admitted the offence, was regretful of his actions and has issued a public apology, so these factors were taken into account when determining an appropriate sanction."

    Ahmed later tweeted that he had apologised to Phehlukwayo, sharing a picture of him shaking hands with the South African.

    "He was gracious enough to accept my apology and I hope the people of South Africa also accept my apology," he said.

    Ahmed will miss the remaining two matches of the ongoing ODI series, with Shoaib Malik leading the side in Sunday's fourth match, as well as the first two matches of the Twenty20 series to follow.

    The ICC said Ahmed will undergo a programme to educate him on issues directly relevant to the offence he had committed and would work with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to determine when and how this would take place.

    South Africa lead the ODI series 2-1.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies