Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed was caught on the stump mic making an alleged racist taunt directed at South Africa’s Andile Phehlukwayo during the 2nd ODI between the two teams.
Sarfraz Ahmed embarked controversy for allegedly making racist comments. (Source: File)
South African captain Faf du Plessis on Thursday said that his side has forgiven Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed for his alleged racist remarks to allrounder Andile Phehlukwayo, but added that the team does not take these things lightly. Speaking to reporters ahead of the third ODI in Durban, the Proteas captain said, “We forgive him because he said sorry. He has apologised and taken responsibility for it. It is out of our hands and ICC will have to deal with it now.”
The 33-year-old added that the players need to be careful about such things when they are visiting South Africa. “When you come to South Africa, you have to be very careful when you make racial comments. I am sure he didn’t mean it like that but he has taken responsibility and we will have to see what the outcome of that is going to be. This is not something that we take lightly as a team, but the fact that he apologised straight away means there is regret on his part,” he said.
The right-handed batsman added that the acceptance of the apology does not mean that the side is brushing the incident under the table. “We’re not taking it lightly, but that fact that there was an immediate apology shows there is regret. We can forgive but that doesn’t mean we brush it under the table,” he said.
The incident had taken place during the 2nd ODI between the two teams on Monday. South Africa were floundering at 80/5 in the 15th overs chasing a target of 204 set by Pakistan. Phehlukwayo then held on with Rassie Van Der Dussen to take South Africa all the way to a series-levelling victory. Halfway through the 37th over of the South African innings, Phehlukwayo inside-edged a Shaheen Afridi delivery to deep fine leg for a single. He was on 50 at the time, and the stump mic caught wicketkeeper Ahmed making the offending remarks.
Du Plessis said that Phehlukwayo did not immediately understand what was being said because of the language barrier. “Andy [Phehlukwayo] says he didn’t even notice it and thus felt it wasn’t really directed at him. I suppose maybe because we didn’t understand it makes a bit of a difference. But it certainly doesn’t sit well with us. There seemed to be immediate regret,” he said.
The batsman added that the cricketing world forgives people easy. “We’re gracious. We forgive quite easily, except maybe against the Aussies,” he said.
Ahmed took to Twitter to issue on Wednesday the next day and said that he regrets the incident. “I wish to extend my sincere apologies to any person who may have taken offence from my expression of frustration which was unfortunately caught by the stump mic during yesterday’s game against SA,” he wrote.
The ICC is currently looking into the matter after being informed about the incident by the match referee.