sarfraz ahmed
Sarfraz Ahmed is serving a four-match suspension (AFP Photo)

Suspended Safraz Ahmed his hopeful to keep Pakistan captaincy for the upcoming ICC World Cup in England. Sarfraz is currently serving a four-match ban for his racist comments aimed at South Africa allrounder Andile Phehlukwayo during an ODI in Durban.

In his place, veteran allrounder Shoaib Malik captained Pakistan in the fourth and fifth ODI and the ongoing T20I series against South Africa. On Sunday, Sarfraz told reporters of getting positive response from Pakistan Cricket Board of him continuing as skipper for World Cup.

“The decision is with the Pakistan Cricket Board, but I have got positive vibes about it that I will be the captain for the World Cup. The PCB knows what stance to best take. I had made a mistake and so I admitted to it,” Sarfraz told reporters in Karachi.

Sarfraz said he explained Phehlukwayo about his comments and that only one word was played up in the media.

“When I went to say sorry to Andile for using the word [kaale, meaning ‘black’], he was more offended by my reference to his mother, saying I had used inappropriate language about her,” Sarfaraz said. “In the media, the word ‘black’ was highlighted to suggest that I had said a racist thing, but I explained the context to him.

“I’m sitting here as Pakistan captain – and for that matter any player playing for Pakistan – thanks to the prayers of their mothers. So I explained I used the world black, which I apologise for, but I insisted I had not said anything offensive about his mother.

“Then we gave him an example from our Islamic tradition, and their team manager [Mohammed] Moosajee [also a Muslim] agreed with what I was saying. So the whole controversy was created by the word, and if people had looked at the context, there was nothing in it. It was just that word, and as you know in our society, it sometimes gets inadvertently used. So yes, I made a mistake, and that was that.

“I just want to make it clear that a huge issue was created out of one word. I never wanted to say something racist to him or taunt him in that way.”

When asked if the wicketkeeper-batsman will cut down on the chatter from behind the stumps, Sarfraz replied: “My nature won’t ever change and all those who have covered me since I played at club level know it very well,” Sarfraz said. “I do the captaincy like that, I talk a lot behind the stumps.”

He’s also hopeful that Ramadan coinciding with the World Cup will prove good for Pakistan. “Ramadan is always good for the Pakistan team whether it’s 1992 World Cup or the Champions Trophy,” he said.

Sarfraz also dismissed rumours suggesting there was heat between him and Pakistan’s stand-in captain Malik. “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 said.