Pakistan’s cricket captain suspended over racist taunt

Sarfraz Ahmed’s taunt caught by microphones and now faces four-match ban

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has been suspended for four matches for breaching the anti-racism code in Tuesday's second one-day international against South Africa, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said on Sunday.

Sarfraz’s on-field taunt in Urdu was caught by stump microphones but he denied that they were aimed at South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo or anyone else in an apology he issued on Thursday.

Cricket’s world governing body said that Sarfraz later accepted that he had breached the ICC’s anti-racism code for participants.

"The ICC has a zero-tolerance policy towards conduct of this nature," ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said.

“Sarfraz has 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.”

Sarfraz later tweeted that he had apologised to Phehlukwayo, sharing a picture of him shaking hands with the South African.

“He was gracious enough to accept my apology and I hope the people of South Africa also accept my apology,” he said.

Sarfraz will miss the remaining two matches of the ongoing ODI series, with Shoaib Malik leading the side in Sunday’s fourth match, as well as the first two matches of the Twenty20 series to follow.

The ICC said Sarfraz will undergo a programme to educate him on issues directly relevant to the offence he had committed and would work with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to determine when and how this would take place.

South Africa lead the ODI series 2-1.