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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 16 February 2019

Sarfraz Ahmed says recent ban will have no bearing on his performances at PSL 2019

Pakistan captain will captain Quetta Gladiators at tournament in UAE having bene suspended for four matches for making a racist comment to a South Africa players

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed was banned by the ICC for four games after a a stump microphone picked up racist comments he made towards South Africa's Andile Phehlukwayo during a recent series. AP Photo
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed was banned by the ICC for four games after a a stump microphone picked up racist comments he made towards South Africa's Andile Phehlukwayo during a recent series. AP Photo

Sarfraz Ahmed is confident he can excel in the Pakistan Super League, as he returns to playing for the first time after being suspended by the ICC.

The Pakistan captain was banned for four matches after he admitted to making a racist comment to South Africa’s Andile Phehlukwayo in a one-day international last month.

Sarfraz missed the two ODIs that followed, as well as all of the ensuing three-match Twenty20 series, as he returned home to Pakistan.

He will take up his role as captain of Quetta Gladiators when they start their PSL campaign against Peshawar Zalmi on Friday, and says he is happy the controversy over his suspension is behind him.

“That ban will have no bearing on my performance in this tournament,” Sarfraz said, at the trophy launch ahead of Season 4 of the PSL.

“This is a different tournament, and I am happy I had a break before this.”

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Sarfraz has been backed to rebound from the ban by his national team coach, Mickey Arthur, who will be in opposition in this tournament as he takes charge of Karachi Kings.

“Sarfraz will be fantastic, as he is a very determined character,” Arthur said, speaking at the Dubai International Stadium.

“I always expect great things from Sarfraz because I know he can deliver. He will be fine.”

Arthur also added his voice to the idea that stump microphones – which Sarfraz’s comment to Phehlukwayo was broadcast – have become “invasive”.

Sanjay Manjrekar, the former India batsman turned commentator, suggested on social media on Tuesday that the game’s administrators should reconsider the use of the effects microphones.

Manjrekar cited both the Sarfraz incident, as well as one involving Joe Root, the England captain, and Shannon Gabriel, the West Indies fast bowler, in the Test match in St Lucia on Monday.

“After Sarfraz it’s Shannon Gabriel now who could be in trouble thanks to the stump mics,” Manjrekar wrote on Twitter.

“ICC must brainstorm and decide if increased use of stump mics is actually good for the game or not.”

Manjrekar’s comment was widely criticised on social media. Arthur said he did not condone poor conduct by players, but feels the microphones can create “unnecessary issues”.

“It treads a fine line now, and the players know it,” Arthur said. “They know the stump mics are live all the time now, and that things that are picked up on that stump mic will be used against them.

“I’m not 100 per cent sure that the stump mics should be on at all times as it leads to a lot of these instances happening – not that I am ever condoning the behaviour of the players.

“I just think stump mics have become a little invasive. I was watching when the incident happened between Tim Paine and Virat [Kohli, during the Australia-India series].

“I think it just creates unnecessary issues. What happens on the field should stay on the field, [but] then it becomes a private thing that is taken off.”

I just think stump mics have become a little invasive ... I think it just creates unnecessary issues. What happens on the field should stay on the field

The fourth season of the PSL will begin on Thursday night, when Islamabad United begin their title defence against a Lahore Qalandars side that now includes AB de Villiers.

“In three years, HBL PSL has become a symbol of national pride for Pakistan, and a reason for celebration,” Ehsan Mani, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, said.

“It provides a platform for our emerging players to perform and be noticed. The PSL is a great inspiration for youngsters.

“For emerging players to make it to the PSL is a fantastic opportunity to show their skills, and play alongside some of the greatest players in the world.”

Updated: February 12, 2019 06:09 PM

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