Pakistan cricket captain Sarfraz Ahmed vowed to become a better player as he returned home after being handed a four-match ban for racist remarks directed at Andile Phehlukwayo in Durban last week.
The incident happened in the 37th over of South African innings in the second ODI at Kingsmead. Sarfraz was heard on the stump mics saying: "Abey kaalay, teri ammi aaj kahaan baitheen hain? Kya parhwa kay aaya hai aaj?".
This literally translates to: "Hey black guy, where's your mother sitting today? What prayer did you ask her to say for you today?"
The International Cricket Council (ICC) banned Sarfraz for four matches – two one-day internationals and two T20 internationals – of the ongoing South African tour.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) expressed their disappointment over the suspension of Sarfraz by saying the ban was unnecessary because the matter had already been resolved between the two players. PCB also decided to call back Sarfraz immediately whereas Shoaib Malik was declared stand-in captain for the rest of the tour.
‘Will improve myself and my performance’
Sarfraz was greeted as he landed back at Karachi airport by some 200 fans, who held placards condemning the ICC's decision.
"Whatever happened has happened," Sarfraz told media at the airport after landing from Cape Town. "I accepted my mistake and ICC's decision is in front of you.
"I will improve myself and my performance in the future and I thank my supporters for their backing."
The ICC said Sarfraz will have to attend "an education programme to promote the understanding and awareness of issues directly relevant to the offence that he has committed."
Asked about PCB's decision to recall him, Sarfraz said: "I don't see anything in it as I was playing cricket for the last five months. I will rest and then play Pakistan Super League,", referring to the league starting in the United Arab Emirates from February 14.
But Sarfraz blasted former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who condemned his action as unacceptable for someone leading Pakistan, saying Shoaib was launching "personal attacks".