Tuesday Jan 29, 2019
KARACHI: Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed has termed criticism by former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar following his suspension as a personal attack.
Sarfraz spoke with reporters following his return from South Africa after he was suspended for four matches by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for breaching the anti-racism code for his remarks against South Africa’s Andile Phehlukwayo.
“He [Shoaib Akhtar] is attacking me personally not criticising,” Sarfraz told reporters at Karachi's Jinnah International Airport.
“I accepted my mistake and received the punishment. I want to thank Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for handling this case and fulfilling requirements,” he added.
"I will improve myself and my performance in the future and I thank my supporters for their backing."
Following the suspension, Akhtar said Sarfraz Ahmed had gotten off easy. Akhtar had also been critical of Sarfraz when the incident had taken place. “This [Sarfaz incident] is not acceptable as a Pakistani. In my opinion he [Sarfraz] did this in the heat of the moment. I think he should apologize publically.”
During Pakistan’s second ODI against South Africa, Sarfraz aimed a comment at Phehlukwayo which was deemed as racist and resulted in him being charged with an offense under the ICC’s anti-racism code.
Following Sarfraz’s suspension, Shoaib Malik assumed responsibilities of captain. Under Malik, the team won the fourth ODI against South Africa with the fifth fixture scheduled for Wednesday.
Asked about PCB's decision to recall Malik, Sarfraz said: "I don't see anything in it as I was playing cricket for the last five months. I will rest and then play Pakistan Super League," referring to the league starting in the United Arab Emirates from February 14.