Durban: After drawing severe criticism for his 'anti-racist' remark against South Africa's Andile Phehlukwayo during the second One Day International match here, Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has extended an apology for his comment.
On Wednesday, the Pakistan skipper tweeted, "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. My words were not directed towards anyone in particular."
In a racist comment to the South African batsman Phehlukwayo, Pakistani wicket-keeper on Monday, during an ODI, said, "Abey kaale, teri ammi aaj kahaan baitheen hain? Kya parwa ke aaye hai aaj" (Hey black guy, where's your mother sitting today? What has she prayed for your luck")."
In a tweet, Sarfraz said, "I certainly had no intention of upsetting anyone. I did not even mean for my words to be heard, understood or communicated to the opposing team or the cricket fans. I have in the past and will continue in future to appreciate the camaraderie of my fellow cricketers from."
He also wrote, "across the globe and will always respect and honour them on and off the field."
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) released a statement after the incident on Wednesday, regretting the unfortunate incident.
"The PCB expresses regret over the remark made by their captain Sarfaraz and picked up by the stump mic during the second ODI against South Africa in Durban. The PCB neither endorses nor supports any comments that have the potential to cause offence, and firmly reiterates their zero-tolerance approach towards racist comments made; in whatever context," the statement said.
"This incident has also highlighted the importance and significance of player education and training at all levels. The PCB endeavors to improve their player education programmes to ensure these types of incidents do not happen again," it added.
Terming the incident as unacceptable, the board said, "Sarfaraz is one of the most respected cricketers in the world. However, captaining Pakistan is a massive honour and any hurtful remarks by any cricketer, let alone the captain, are not acceptable to the PCB."
"The PCB is confident that this incident will not affect the series, which has been played in great spirit with some excellent performances from both side. The PCB is also hopeful that the crowds will continue to turn up in big numbers for the remaining matches to support cricket," the statement concluded.
Sarfraz might face sanctions from the International Cricket Council (ICC) if the match officials initiate disciplinary action, which may fall under the ambit of their anti-racism code.
According to the ICC Anti-Racism Policy for International Cricket- 1 October 2012, the ICC and all of its Members should ?not at any time offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, threaten, disparage, vilify or unlawfully discriminate between persons based on their race, religion, culture, colour, descent, and/or national or ethnic origin (inappropriate racist conduct).(UNI)