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January 25, 2019

‘We forgive Sarfraz because he said sorry’: du Plessis


January 25, 2019

CENTURION: South Africa captain Faf du Plessis has said that his team has forgiven Sarfraz Ahmed for his racially charged on-field taunt during the second ODI in Durban on Tuesday.

“We forgive him because he said sorry,” du Plessis said after South Africa’s training session on Thursday.“He has apologised and taken responsibility for it. It is out of our hands and ICC will have to deal with it now.”

The ICC has received a report from match referee Ranjan Madugalle and is currently considering the matter. Because of the nature of the incident, legal officials have been involved and very little has emerged about what, if any, action will be taken.

The Pakistan skipper was caught on the broadcast stump mic making what seemed to be a racist comment towards all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo during the course of South Africa’s tense chase at Kingsmead.

Sarfraz was caught clearly on the stump mics saying, in Urdu: “Abey kaale, teri ammi aaj kahaan baitheen hain? Kya parwa ke aaye hai aaj?”

Translated in English, it would roughly mean: “Hey black guy, where’s your mother sitting today? What [prayer] have you got her to say for you today?”Sarfraz issued a general apology via Twitter the day after the incident, claiming that his comments were “not directed towards anyone in particular.”

He 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 and 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 across the globe and will always respect and honour them on and off the field.”

Whether or not Sarfraz faces any action, Pakistan are likely to face a sterner challenge in the third ODI on Friday (today), with wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock and fast bowler Dale Steyn added to the home squad after being rested for the first two matches.

“When you come to South Africa, you have to be very careful when you make racial comments,” du Plessis said. “I am sure he didn’t mean it like that but he has taken responsibility and we will have to see what the outcome of that is going to be. This is not something that we take lightly as a team, but the fact that he apologised straight away means there is regret on his part.“We’re not taking it lightly, but that fact that there was an immediate apology shows there is regret. We can forgive but that doesn’t mean we brush it under the table.”

Phehlukwayo has made no comment on the incident, and du Plessis suggested that he had not noticed the comment at the time — the language barrier meaning Phehlukwayo did not understand what was said.

“Andy [Phehlukwayo] says he didn’t even notice it and thus felt it wasn’t really directed at him,” du Plessis said.“I suppose maybe because we didn’t understand it makes a bit of a difference. But it certainly doesn’t sit well with us. There seemed to be immediate regret.“We’re gracious. We forgive quite easily, except maybe against the Aussies.”

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