Pakistan captain banned 4 games for racist on-field taunt

Sarfraz Ahmed was banned for four games on Sunday for a racist on-field taunt aimed at Andile Phehlukwayo. (AP)
Updated 27 January 2019

Pakistan captain banned 4 games for racist on-field taunt

  • International Cricket Council confirmed the decision on Sunday and said Sarfraz was guilty of a breach of the sport's anti-racism code
  • Pakistan captain made a public apology and also apologized in person to Phehlukwayo

JOHANNESBURG: Pakistan cricket captain Sarfraz Ahmed was banned for four games on Sunday for a racist on-field taunt aimed at South Africa allrounder Andile Phehlukwayo and will miss the rest of the one-day series and the first two Twenty20 games.
The International Cricket Council said Sarfraz was guilty of a breach of the sport's anti-racism code for his comments while Phehlukwayo, who is black, was batting in the second ODI in Durban on Tuesday. The ICC charged Sarfraz with the offense on Saturday and said Safraz accepted the charge.
Sarfraz, the Pakistan wicketkeeper, was heard on a stump microphone saying in the Urdu language: "Hey black man, where is your mother sitting today? What (prayer) have you got her to say for you today?"
Sarfraz claimed his comments were a general expression of frustration that Phehlukwayo had got lucky while batting and survived a couple of near-misses. He made a public apology and also apologized in person to Phehlukwayo.
The ICC still found him guilty.
"The ICC has a zero-tolerance policy towards conduct of this nature," ICC chief executive David Richardson said. Richard said Sarfraz had "promptly admitted the offence, was regretful of his actions and has issued a public apology."
Shoaib Malik captained Pakistan for the fourth one-day international in Johannesburg on Sunday in Sarfraz's place. Shoaib won the toss and opted to bowl first. He declined to comment on Sarfraz's ban.
Wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan made his first appearance of the series in place of Sarfraz. Pakistan also brought in left-arm seam bowler Usman Shinwari in its only other change.
South Africa made one change, rotating its spinners by recalling Imran Tahir for Tabraiz Shamsi.
South Africa leads 2-1 in the ODIs and can clinch the series at the Wanderers.


Rival skippers excited as Pakistan, Sri Lanka set for historic Test

Updated 8 min 19 sec ago

Rival skippers excited as Pakistan, Sri Lanka set for historic Test

  • The attack plunged Pakistan into sporting isolation during its years-long battle with militancy

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan’s captain Azhar Ali thanked Sri Lanka Tuesday for returning to Pakistan for the first Test tour there in a decade, after a fatal militant attack on their team in 2009 drove international cricket away.

“It’s a historic occasion and all the players are excited to be part of this,” Azhar, who has played 75 Tests — but, until now, none at home — said at a press conference in Rawalpindi with his counterpart, Dimuth Karunaratne.

“We thank the Sri Lankan team for coming here. The last Test was also against them so their visit will send a strong message to the world that we need to support each other,” he said.

Eight people were killed and several players and officials were wounded when militants opened fire on the Sri Lankan team bus traveling to a Test in Lahore in 2009.

The attack plunged Pakistan into sporting isolation during its years-long battle with militancy, with all “home” venues played in the UAE.

But with security dramatically improving in recent years international cricket began creeping back starting in 2015, albeit only for limited overs. Sri Lanka will play two Tests under heavy security, one in Rawalpindi and the second in Karachi, ending a decade-long absence for cricket’s five-day format. They will be the first home Tests for all 16 players in the Pakistan squad.

“Cricket is the biggest thing and if the youngsters can’t see matches here then it’s a big loss for our cricket and budding players,” Azhar said.

“I am sure our grounds will host more matches in the years to come.”

Karunaratne — who refused to tour Pakistan for a limited over series in September-October this year —  shared his rival’s sentiments.

“I am really excited ... The players are excited to be part of this historic occasion,” he said.

Sri Lanka are on the up in Test cricket after becoming the first Asian team to win a series in South Africa earlier this year.

They then drew a Test series 1-1 against New Zealand at home in August, their first fixture in the World Test championship.

Sri Lanka have not lost a series in Pakistan since 1992 — winning two and drawing two.

They beat Pakistan 2-0 in their last series in UAE two years ago, a win Karunaratne hoped will motivate them.

“We played good cricket in 2017 so that confidence is with us,” he said.

Pakistan, meanwhile, are smarting from a 3-0 defeat in South Africa and 2-0 in Australia this year.

“Test cricket demands discipline and they (Sri Lanka) are a well disciplined side, whether playing at their home or away so we have to play disciplined and good cricket,” Azhar said, adding that as captain he has to “lead by example.” 

He managed just 59 in six innings in South Africa and 62 in four in Australia.

The second Test is in Karachi from Dec. 19.