Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has been banned for four matches after admitting making a racist remark to South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo.
The world governing body opened an investigation after Sarfraz was caught on a stump microphone using the Urdu word “kaale”, meaning “black.”
Sarfraz, 31, later apologised and claimed his words were “not directed towards anyone in particular”.
“I certainly had no intention of upsetting anyone,” he wrote on Twitter. “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. 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 across the globe and will always respect and honour them on and off the field.”
Sarfraz will now have to go on an ICC education programme.
“Sarfraz has promptly admitted the offence, was regretful of his actions and has issued a public apology, so these factors were taken into account when determining an appropriate sanction,” said the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) chief executive David Richardson.
In response, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in a statement that it had “a zero-tolerance approach to racist comments and behaviour”, but expressed its “utmost disappointment” with the decision to ban Sarfraz.
The PCB said it believed the matter had been settled amicably following the player’s apology and said it would seek to reform the anti-racism code at future ICC forums.