Sarfraz hits back at Akhtar for ‘personal attack’

Wicketkeeper-batsman vows to improve his performances in the future

Sarfraz hits back at Akhtar for ‘personal attack’ PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan Captain Sarfraz Ahmed hit back at former fast-bowler Shoaib Akhtar and termed his criticism as ‘personal attack’.

The 31-year-old wicketkeeper was forced to return home after the International Cricket Council (ICC) imposed a four-match suspension on him for breaching the Anti-Racism Code for his remarks against South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo during the second ODI in the ongoing five-match series.

Following that incident, Akhtar not only criticised Sarfraz on the national television but also released a video message on Twitter, in which he lashed out at the Karachi-born for his irresponsible behaviour.

Talking to reporters on his arrival in Karachi on Monday, Sarfraz hits back at Akhtar by saying: “He [Shoaib Akhtar] didn’t criticise me. It was more of a personal attack.”

Sarfraz also went on thank the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for handing the issue in a professional manner. “I accepted my mistake and received the punishment. I want to thank Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for handling this case and fulfilling requirements.”

Following Sarfraz’s suspension, veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik assumed responsibilities of captaining the side and guided the team to a comprehensive eight-wicket win on Sunday.

When asked whether he is worried about the prospect of his captaincy in the near future, the 31-year-old said: “I don’t think about those things. I am fine with coming back home after playing cricket constantly from the past five months. Now I will have a much-needed rest before the Pakistan Super League (PSL). I will improve myself and my performance in the future and I thank my supporters for their support."