Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed could be in trouble for his comments and it’s up to the match officials to decide if his reaction comes under the ICC code of conduct for player behaviour or the ICC’s anti-racism code. @ AFP

Former Pakistan ace speedster Shoaib Akhtar hopes captain Sarfraz Ahmed will not be handed severe punishment for his racial slur in the second ODI against South Africa at Kingsmead in Durban on Tuesday.

Sarfraz stirred controversy when he racially abused pacer Andile Phehlukwayo, who’s allround show helps the hosts to a series-levelling five-wicket victory.

Phehlukwayo and Rassie van der Dussen combined to add 127 runs in quick time after the Proteas were in a spot of bother at 80/5 in the 15th over while chasing a target of 204 runs. The partnership began to frustrate the Pakistanis and Sarfraz let his emotions get the better of him. (ALSO READ: South Africa call up Beuran Hendricks for final three Pakistan ODIs)

The incident occurred in the 37th over of the South Africa innings when Phehlukwayo was facing Shaheen Afridi. After taking a run and heading to the non-striker’s end, the Pakistan wicketkeeper passed said: “Abey kaale, teri ammi aaj kahaan baitheen hain? Kya parwa ke aaye hai aaj?” (Hey black guy, where’s your mother sitting today? What prayer have you said today?)

The comment triggered widespread outrage on social media. Interestingly, Shoaib too condemned the act and asked Sarfraz to tender an apology Phehlukwayo.

“This is not acceptable as a Pakistani. I guess he did this in the heat of the moment. He should tender a public apology,” he said in a video he uploaded on Twitter on Tuesday.

However, on Wednesday, Akhtar took his words back and hoped that the punishment meted out to Sarfraz will not be that severe and hoped that it does not affect Pakistan’s preparations leading up to the ICC World Cup 2019.

“I really hope that our captain gets away with minimal punishment out of this recent episode bcoz we need him for the coming World Cup as captain,” he wrote on Twitter.

Sarfraz could be in trouble for his comments and it’s up to the match officials to decide if his reaction comes under the ICC code of conduct for player behaviour or the ICC’s anti-racism code.

Article 2.13 of the regular code says: “This offence is not intended to cover any use of language that is likely to offend another person on the basis of their race, religion, gender, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin. Such conduct is prohibited under the ICC’s Anti-Racism Code and must be dealt with according to the procedures set out therein.” (ALSO READ: Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed’s racial comment to Andile Phelukwayo could draw ICC sanction)

In the Anti-Racism code, an offence is described as “any conduct (whether through the use of language, gestures or otherwise) which is likely to offend, insult, humiliate, intimidate, threaten, disparage or vilify any reasonable person in the position of a Player, Player Support Personnel, Umpire, Match Referee, Umpire Support Personnel or any other person (including a spectator) on the basis of their race, religion, culture, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin.”

Earlier, Phehlukwayo pocketed four for 22 in 9.5 overs as the tourists were skittled for 203 in 45.5 overs.