South Africa 'forgives' Pakistan captain for alleged racial remarks
South Africa's cricket captain Faf du Plessis has accepted the apology offered by Pakistani counterpart Sarfraz Ahmed for a controversial on-field taunt during Tuesday's second One-Day International in Durban.
Sarfraz denied that his comments in Urdu, caught on the stump microphones, were aimed at South African all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo or anyone in particular. Many wondered if the taunt was racist in nature.
"I wish to extend my sincere apologies to any person who may have taken offense from my expression of frustration which was unfortunately caught by the stump mic during yesterday's game against SA," the 31-year old wrote on his Twitter account.
"My words were not directed towards anyone in particular.
"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."
"We forgive him because he said sorry," Plessis said after South Africa's training session on Thursday. "He has apologized and taken responsibility for it. It is out of our hands and International Cricket Council (ICC) will have to deal with it now."
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had earlier issued a statement regretting the "unfortunate incident."
"The PCB neither endorses nor supports any comments that have the potential to cause offense, and firmly reiterates their zero-tolerance approach towards racist comments made in whatever context," it 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 programs to ensure these types of incidents do not happen again.
"Captaining Pakistan is a massive honor and any hurtful remarks by any cricketer, let alone the captain, are not acceptable to the PCB."
Du Plessis himself went on to say: "When you come to South Africa, you have to be very careful when you make racial comments. 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."
He also said, "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."