All-rounder Shoaib Malik will lead the side in wicketkeeper-batsman's absence during fourth ODI in Johannesburg
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has been suspended for four matches after accepting that he was in breach of the ICC’s Anti-Racism Code for Participants following an incident that occurred during the second ODI against South Africa in Durban on Tuesday.
Sarfraz aimed a comment at South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo which resulted in Sarfaraz being charged with an offence under the Code, namely;
“Engaging in any 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 in the position of a Player, Player Support Personnel, Umpire, Match Referee, Umpire Support Personnel or any other person (including a spectator) on the basis of their race, religion, culture, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin.”
Sarfraz will miss the remaining two matches of the ongoing ODI series as well as the first two matches of the T20I series to follow.
As per Article 7.3 of the Anti-Racism Code, Sarfraz will also have to undergo an education programme to promote the understanding and awareness of issues directly relevant to the offence that he has committed. The ICC will work with the PCB to determine when and how this should take place.
The incident was initially reported by Ranjan Madugalle of the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Match Referees after he conducted initial investigations and spoke to both players after the match. Following a further investigation, the ICC General Counsel, Iain Higgins, then determined that the player had a case to answer under the Code, and the player was issued with a charge notice on 26 January.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said: “The ICC has a zero-tolerance policy towards conduct of this nature. Sarfaraz 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.”
All-rounder Shoaib Malik will be leading the side in the wicketkeeper-batsman’s absence — who won the toss and decided to bowl first in the fourth ODI against South Africa in Johannesburg.
“You are all aware of the incident that took place during the second ODI,” Malik said at toss when asked about Sarfraz’s absence. “That is the reason why I’m leading the team today.”
Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan will replace Sarfraz in the Pakistan lineup.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has also issued a statement after the International Cricket Council (ICC) suspended Sarfraz.
“The PCB notes the ICC decision on Sarfraz Ahmed with its utmost disappointment. PCB had anticipated that the matter had been resolved amicably between the two players and the two Boards following Sarfraz Ahmed’s public apologies which were accepted by the player, the Board and South Africa cricket team,” the statement said. “The PCB will be pursuing this matter at the ICC forums with the objective to bring reforms to the Code, promoting amicable resolutions to issues as opposed to penalties. Having said that, the PCB reiterates its zero-tolerance approach towards racist comments and behavior.”
The Pakistan skipper will return home and take no further part in the series, meanwhile Shoaib Malik will lead the side for the remainder of the matches.
“In consultation with Sarfraz, it has been decided that he will return to Pakistan immediately,” the statement further stated. “Shoaib Malik will captain the team for the remaining ODIs and T20 internationals of the series, while Mohammad Rizwan has been included in the T20I side.”