South African Cricket captain, Faf du Plessis, says as players they don’t take racial comments made by Pakistan Captain Sarfraz Ahmed lightly adding that it’s important that visiting teams realise race is a sensitive issue in South Africa.
Ahmed’s comments believed to have been directed at all-rounder, Andile Phehlukwayo, were captured by the stump mic on Tuesday during the second One Day International between the Proteas and Pakistan in Durban.
Ahmed has since apologised through a series of tweets saying his comments weren’t directed at a particular player. The incident might spice up Friday’s third ODI of the five-match series at SuperSport Park, with the teams level at 1-all.
Frustration seemed to get the better of the Pakistani players on Tuesday. They had the Proteas in serious trouble at 80 for five, but then struggled to get another breakthrough and lost the match by five wickets.
With man-of-the-match, Andile Phehlukwayo on 50 and riding his luck, the stump mic picked up a racial slur in Urdu where-in Sarfraz referred to Phehlukwayo as a “black boy”.
Just like the incident that had three Australian players including their captain sanctioned by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2017, the matter was reported to cricket’s world governing body, the ICC.
Proteas Captain, Faf du Plessis, says as players they have forgiven the Pakistan captain although they don’t take the matter lightly.
“Certainly not something that we take lightly as a team, but also the fact that he apologised right away means there’s regret and remorse. But it’s not something that we will brush under the table. We forgive easily maybe not so much when it’s Australia,” says du Plessis.
The Proteas have been hit by injuries and fatigue with Quinton de Kock and Dale Steyn rested for the first two One-Day Internationals, while Lungile Ngidi has been out injured since South Africa’s visit to Australia in late 2018.
Du Plessis says it was a blessing in disguise, because it’s given opportunities to guys such Rassie Van Der Dussen and Duane Olivier who grabbed it with both hands.
“The injuries do take you back, obviously taking Dale out of the team, Quinton and Lungi out of the team. You’re not playing your best team, but for me, it’s okay because guys playing in their position could make the squad of 15 for the World Cup. So, it has been a blessing in disguise that we could look at more players,” says Du Plessis.
Du Plessis says it’s crucial that they show consistency with both bat and ball, which has been lacking.
“For tomorrow, we are looking for consistency with both ball and bat. In the first match, we batted well, but in the second, we didn’t although we reacted well with a good partnership,” says Du Plessis.
With places still available for World Cup spots, players on the fringes will grab the opportunity to book their places in the 15-man World Cup squad.
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