The last 24 hours have not exactly been the brightest for the Pakistani cricket captain Sarfraz Ahmed, who was caught throwing racially motivated jibes at the South African all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo during the second ODI of five-match series at the Proteas' home turf.
As things grew out of proportion, former Pakistani pacer and all-time-great Shoaib Akhtar too decided to humble the outspoken wicket keeper by uploading a minute and a half long video from all his social media handles which he later removed due to reasons unknown. The former cricketer urged Ahmed to make a public apology for the “absolutely disgusting comments” that he had made in Durban.
Having said that, after an entire day of public humiliation, Ahmed finally tweeted a long apology in which he shows regret over hurting the sentiments of those who got offended by his “expression of frustration.”
1/2 - I wish to extend my sincere apologies to any person who may have taken offence from my expression of frustration which was unfortunately caught by the stump mic during yesterday's game against SA. My words were not directed towards anyone in particular and...— Sarfaraz Ahmed (@SarfarazA_54) January 23, 2019
2/3 - I certainly had no intention of upsetting anyone. I did not even mean for my words to be heard, understood or communicated to the opposing team or the cricket fans. I have in the past and will continue in future to appreciate the camaraderie of my fellow cricketers from...— Sarfaraz Ahmed (@SarfarazA_54) January 23, 2019
3/3 - ...across the globe and will always respect and honour them on and off the field.— Sarfaraz Ahmed (@SarfarazA_54) January 23, 2019
In his apology, Ahmed tries to convey that his remarks were not directed towards a certain individual and he, as a cricketer has shown respect towards his fellow men of the game from all around the world and will continue to do so in the future.
However, the judiciary that social media has come to become, was not convinced with this apology of Ahmed's and they let him know that in the best way possible:
I think you should be ashamed of yourself using racial language against a fellow cricketer We face racism in the uk everyday I know how it feels #shame— Talib Zaman (@TalibZaman) January 23, 2019 January 23, 2019 January 23, 2019
Saifi bhai ini English ð u made me cry ðð— TehØ±eeemeee (Maheen's Bdy â¤) (@Cheerrryy_) January 23, 2019
Saifi bhai zuban zada chlate ho or balla kam chlate ho zada focus game pe rakho— Muhammad Asif Iqbal (@Muhammad_Aasif4) January 23, 2019
jhoot bolta hai bsdk? ðð— Aditya Acharya (@aadiacharya) January 23, 2019
The thing is, when you are caught saying something like “Abey kaale, teri ammi aaj kahaan baitheen hain? Kya padhwa ke aaye hai aaj?" (Hey black guy, where's your mother sitting today? What [prayer] have you got her to say for you today?),” it doesn't really make a good case for you to say that your remarks weren't directed towards an individual and that you respect the people of colour.
If you believe that your words weren't meant to be heard or understood by anyone from the opposing team, it doesn't make you less guilty. It is like Cameron Bancroft not wanting the cameras to catch his infamous ball-tampering incident in South Africa last year.
According to the ICC Anti-Racism policy for International Cricket, Ahmed's apparent words of sledging unacceptable and he must be punished for it. If Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul are facing so much flak for their remarks on a talk-show, the Pakistani skipper must meet with a penalty a lot more severe.