Sarfaraz Ahmed: Pakistan wicketkeeper to stay on as captain after racism ban

Sarfraz Ahmed
Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed was also told to take part in an education programme after admitting breaching an anti-racism code

Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed will stay on in the role until this summer's World Cup in England - despite serving a ban for racism.

Sarfaraz left his side's tour of South Africa early after cricket chiefs suspended him for four games.

The 31-year-old wicketkeeper admitted breaching the International Cricket Council's (ICC) anti-racism code.

But the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said on Tuesday that Sarfaraz was "an integral part" of its World Cup plans.

"We all know he has had some tough times as a professional cricketer in the past few weeks," said PCB chairman Ehsan Mani.

"[But] I was always clear in my mind that Sarfaraz would be the captain."

Sarfaraz, who was caught on a stump microphone using the Urdu word "kaale", meaning "black", said: "The reality is the last few weeks have been extremely difficult for me as a person and professional.

"But I am delighted the PCB has reassured its confidence and faith in me."

The ban was imposed by the ICC last month following a one-day international in Durban in which Sarfaraz made a racist remark to South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo.

He later apologised and claimed his words were "not directed towards anyone in particular", though he admitted breaching the anti-racism code.

The PCB was critical of the punishment and said it would seek to reform the anti-racism code at future ICC forums.

However Sarfaraz returned to Pakistan with all-rounder Shoaib Malik stepping in as captain for the rest of the South Africa tour - even though Sarfaraz would have been available for the final Twenty20 match of the tour, which takes place on Wednesday.

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