Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 27 May 2019

Sarfraz Ahmed to captain Pakistan at World Cup despite racism ban

Wicketkeeper to continue in role just days after admitting to breaching ICC's anti-racism code during ODI with Proteas

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, right, met with South Africa's Andile Phehlukwayo to apologise for his remarks. Anesh Debiky / AFP
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, right, met with South Africa's Andile Phehlukwayo to apologise for his remarks. Anesh Debiky / AFP

Sarfraz Ahmed will continue as Pakistan captain until at least the end of the World Cup despite the furore over an alleged racist remark to South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo.

The International Cricket Council handed down a four-match ban after Sarfraz admitted to breaching the anti-racism code over comments that were picked up by a stump mic during a one-day international last month.

The wicketkeeper-batsman met with Phehlukwayo to apologise for his remarks, which included the Urdu word "kaale", meaning "black", but he retains the support of the Pakistan hierarchy.

Despite recent patchy form in Tests, Sarfraz was at the helm as they upset the odds to go all the way in the Champions Trophy in 2017 in England, where this summer's World Cup is being staged.

He said: "I feel humbled and honoured to be placed in the same bracket as some of the most iconic and legendary cricketers who have previously captained Pakistan at World Cups.

"It is the dream of any international cricketer to play in a World Cup, but to be appointed captain in the biggest cricket spectacle on the planet is something that is extremely special.

"The reality is that the last few weeks have been extremely difficult for me as a person and professional. But I am delighted that the PCB has reassured its confidence and faith in me. It has boosted my confidence tremendously."

"I am convinced we are in a good shape for the World Cup. Everyone is geared up and keenly looking forward to returning to the country where we won the last major ICC tournament.

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ehsan Mani said: "I was always clear in my mind that Sarfraz would be the captain.

"I was keen to speak with him on the team's recent performances as part of the normal review and appraisal process, and, more importantly, about his own future plans as we all know he has undergone some tough times as a professional cricketer in the past few weeks."

Updated: February 5, 2019 02:44 PM

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