Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has played down rumours of there being a rift between him and veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik.
Sarfraz was recently banned for four games by the International Cricket Council (ICC) over his controversial comment to South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo in the second ODI in Durban.
In the 37th over of that game, the broadcast stump mic picked up Sarfraz speaking in Urdu.
The 31-year-old was heard saying: “Abey kaale, teri ammi aaj kahaan baitheen hain? Kya parwa ke aaye hai aaj?”.
Translated into English, it means: “Hey black guy, where’s your mother sitting today? What [prayer] have you got her to say for you today?”
After Sarfraz was given a four-match ban, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) named Malik as stand-in captain.
While Pakistan lost the ODI series 3-2 and have already been defeated in the ongoing Twenty20 series as they trail 2-0 going into the final game, there has been increasing speculation that the PCB may remove Sarfraz as captain ahead of the World Cup.
Even though opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq has already dismissed this, the PCB said that it will appoint captains on a “series-by-series basis”.
This caused Sarfraz to insist that there is no rift between him and Malik, and that the players have no problem with who leads the team.
“There is no truth to the claim people who play under Shoaib bhai don’t want to play under me. All the boys are very good and support each other. I don’t think there’s anything about that,” he was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“I’m hopeful and expectant of a comeback. I came back because I had a four-match ban, and there was just one more match after that. So travelling with the team all that while and not playing, what with me having been away from home for five months, was very hectic. If I had come back with the team and got just three days here before going for the PSL [Pakistan Super League], that would have been very hectic. So getting the rest instead was much better.”
When asked about the PCB expressing disappoint towards the ICC for banning him for four games, Sarfraz said: “The PCB knows what stance to best take. I had made a mistake and so I admitted to it.”