Pakistani cricketer slammed for ‘racist slur’ in South Africa

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Pakistan’s cricket captain Sarfaraz Ahmed has drawn fierce criticism for allegedly making racist remarks at a South African batsman during his team’s loss in a One-Day International match in Durban. 

Pakistan was in action against South Africa on Tuesday in the second ODI match of the five-match away series, when Ahmed was caught “sledging” on a broadcast stump microphone. Sledging in cricket is when a player tries to gain an advantage over an opposing player by insulting them.

“Hey black [man], where is your mother sitting? What prayer did you get her to say for you today?” the wicket-keeper was heard saying in Urdu as South Africa’s Andile Phehlukwayo ran off to the non-striker’s end in the 37th over.


During the live telecast, Australian Mike Haysman asked his fellow commentator Ramiz Raja, a former Pakistani cricketer, “What’s he saying there, Ramiz?”

“Difficult really to translate that. It’s a big long sentence. [He’s] obviously feeling that the left-hander has been very lucky,” Raja replied. 

The video of the incident was widely circulated online, with many Twitter users calling on the Pakistani cricketer to apologise for his remarks. 

“This is completely unacceptable as a Pakistani. I think he said it in the heat of the moment. He should apologise publicly,” Shoaib Akhtar, former Pakistani fast bowler, said in a video message on Twitter. 

Meanwhile, others urged that strict action is taken against Ahmed for bringing shame to the team and the nation through his on-field conduct.

“Why aren’t these cricketers groomed before they represent a country!! Absolutely pathetic and shameful behaviour!!” wrote Bilal Khan.  

Some also called out cricketer-turned-commentator Raja for “trying to hide Ahmed’s racist slur” by laughing.

“Worst part about this…is that Ramiz Raja tried to hide and save him in commentary laughing,” said Asit Ranjan Panigrahi.

On-field racism is considered one of the most serious acts that can be committed, with the possibility of a lifetime ban for anyone found guilty, according to the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) anti-racism code.

Players may be penalised for “engaging in any conduct – physical or verbal – which is likely to offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, threaten, disparage or vilify on the basis of their race, religion, culture, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin”.

Sledging happens fairly often as players seek an advantage over their opponents. Any disciplinary action against players can be initiated by the match officials. 

With their five-match series tied at 1-1, Pakistan and South Africa will play their third ODI match on Friday in Centurion. 

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