• Pakistan Board disappointed by ICC’s heavy hand

    The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has expressed its disappointment at the strong action taken by the ICC in handing skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed a four-match ban for his on-field comments at Kingsmead.

    ‘The PCB notes the ICC decision on Sarfaraz Ahmed with its utmost disappointment,’ read a statement sent out to the media by the PCB. ‘PCB had anticipated that the matter had been resolved amicably between the two players and the two boards following Sarafraz Ahmed’s public apologies, which were accepted by the player, the board and the South Africa cricket team.’

    The organisation’s disappointment is largely centred around the fact that the ICC imposed the ban, despite the fact that the PCB had offered that Sarfaraz would voluntarily step down for a handful of matches. In addition, the Pakistan skipper had agreed to donate his match fees to worthy causes as a mark of his apology for any harm his words had done to specific individuals, the cricketing community or society at large.

    There is an option under the ICC’s anti-racism code that allows players to take such a voluntary stand when a conciliator is involved in the process, but the ICC did not accept Sarfaraz’s gesture (in this instance there was no official conciliator involved).

    The PCB’s disappointment is further heightened because they had extensive engagement with Cricket South Africa regarding the incident, as well as offering apologies to Andile Phehlukwayo and the Proteas squad in private, followed by public apologies from Sarfaraz and the PCB.

    Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis also publically accepted Sarfaraz’s apology on behalf of his side, but despite all  their efforts (including Sarfaraz effectively offering to ‘suspend himself’), the ICC nonetheless handed the player a four-match ban.

    ALSO READ: Sarfaraz Ahmed gets four-match suspension for racist comment

    The issue of racism is quite rightly dealt with very severely by the ICC, as racism has no place in sport or society at large, but perhaps the PCB’s unhappiness also stems from the fact that this case is the first high-profile ‘racism’ violation in over a decade.

    ‘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,’ added the statement by the PCB. ‘Having said that, the PCB reiterates its zero tolerance approach towards racist comments and behaviour.’

    Photo: Francois Nel/Getty Images

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