Pakistan captain banned over racist comment by ICC

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PRETORIA, South Africa

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has been banned for four matches after admitting making a racist remark to South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo.

According to the International Cricket Council (ICC), Sarfraz breached its anti-racism code in a one-day international in Durban.

Sarfraz, 31, later apologised and claimed his words were “not directed towards anyone in particular”.

“Sarfraz has promptly 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,” said the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) chief executive David Richardson.

He was caught on a stump microphone using the Urdu word “kaale”, meaning “black”. His action means he will miss two one-day internationals and two Twenty20 matches, all against South Africa. He will also have to go on an ICC education programme.

Responding to the ban, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in a statement that it had “a zero-tolerance approach to racist comments and behaviour”, but expressed its “utmost disappointment” with the decision to ban their player.

Sarfraz is being charged under a part of the section of the code relating to “conduct (whether through the use of language, gestures or otherwise) which is likely to offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, threaten, disparage or vilify any reasonable person… on the basis of their race, religion, culture, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin”.