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Sarfaraz Ahmed to stay on as captain after racism ban

Sarfaraz left his side’s tour of South Africa early after cricket chiefs suspended him for four games.

The 31-year-old wicketkeeper admitted breaching the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) anti-racism code.

But the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said on Tuesday that Sarfaraz was “an integral part” of its World Cup plans.

“We all know he has had some tough times as a professional cricketer in the past few weeks,” said PCB chairman Ehsan Mani.

“[But] I was always clear in my mind that Sarfaraz would be the captain.”

Sarfaraz, who was caught on a stump microphone using the Urdu word “kaale”, meaning “black”, said: “The reality is the last few weeks have been extremely difficult for me as a person and professional.

“But I am delighted the PCB has reassured its confidence and faith in me.”

The ban was imposed by the ICC last month following a one-day international in Durban in which Sarfaraz made a racist remark to South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo.

He later apologised and claimed his words were “not directed towards anyone in particular”, though he admitted breaching the anti-racism code.

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