Mani lashes out at ICC over Sarfraz’s ban

PCB chairman believes ‘bureaucracy over common sense’ prevailed in the matter

Mani lashes out at ICC over Sarfraz’s ban PHOTO: AFP

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ehsan Mani has lashed out at the International Cricket Council (ICC) over their handling of the racial taunt matter, which included the Men in Green captain Sarfraz Ahmed.

On January 27, Pakistan skipper received a four-match ban by the ICC for a racial slur against South Africa’s Andile Phehlukwayo during the second ODI of the recently concluded five-match series in Durban.

The offence came under the ICC Anti-Racism code, according to which a player will receive four to eight suspension points if they are found guilty, which is equal to two to four Test matches or four to eight ODIs/T20Is suspension.

Following the ban, the PCB issued a statement where they expressed disappointment with the decision to charge Sarfraz despite the wicketkeeper-batsman apologising publicly and also in person to Phehlukwayo.

However, Mani, in a recent interview with ESPNCricinfo, criticised ICC for not handling the matter the way it should’ve been.

"As far as we were concerned, an apology had been tendered and accepted and the only question was whether Sarfraz deserved any punishment or not," said Mani. "I had already said we should pull Sarfraz out for 2-3 games. I felt very strongly that this has to be a strong message for everyone. We made an apology at all levels and it had been accepted by everyone. We have a good relationship with Cricket South Africa (CSA).”

He added: “For the ICC to jump in because Phehlukwayo was upset and didn't want a reconciliation process, [and to feel they] have to charge Sarfraz, that's where I think a bit of nonsense comes into this. What else can you achieve by sitting them in a room? They're not school children."

Mani was also left furious by the timing and the manner Sarfraz’s ban was revealed, as it was the South Africa captain Faf du Plessis who made it public at the beginning of the fourth ODI, whereas the team management was also informed regarding the development just before the match on Sunday.

"This is my issue that they sat on it," said Mani. "Our statements and apologies were public. This is not something you brush under the table, it has to be dealt with openly and transparently. We did all of that. But because ICC couldn't get the two players in a room together, they said let's charge him. And that to my mind is utter nonsense. Why this bureaucratic process that it didn't go exactly according to the book in terms of reconciliation with an ICC mediator? We don't need an ICC mediator. So very seriously, we will push on this because somewhere common sense was overruled by bureaucratic process."

Mani, who has served as the ICC President in the past, further revealed that he is planning to talk to Sarfraz regarding the matter.

"Obviously Sarfraz will be spoken to,” he added. “The whole team will be told that you have to be very careful. It is also a bit of a cultural issue – the word that he used, in Pakistan it would be ignored. That doesn't mean the culture is right but the tone wasn't in any way vicious or vindictive."