(Reuters) - Sarfraz Ahmed will continue as Pakistan captain at the World Cup in May despite serving a suspension for breaching the anti-racism code, Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Ehsan Mani said on Tuesday.
Sarfraz was suspended for four matches by the International Cricket Council (ICC) when an on-field taunt aimed at South Africa’s Andile Phehlukwayo was caught by stump microphones. Sarfraz admitted the offence and apoligised for his conduct.
“Sarfraz will remain Pakistan captain until the World Cup, I was always clear in my mind that Sarfraz would be the captain,” Mani told reporters in Lahore.
“He will remain so until any other decision is taken,” Mani added, saying Sarfraz’s performance as captain would be evaluated only after the World Cup.
The PCB had rallied in support of Sarfraz, saying they were disappointed by the ICC’s decision to suspend him after the matter had been resolved, and Mani backed him to lead the team.
The 31-year-old wicketkeeper, who led Pakistan to the ICC Champions Trophy title in 2017, was thankful for the board’s support.
“The past few weeks have been extremely difficult for me as a person and professional, but I am delighted that the PCB has reassured its confidence and faith in me,” Sarfraz said.
“In the lead up to the World Cup, Pakistan will play five ODIs each against Australia and England, which will also allow us the opportunity to further fine-tune our preparations.”
Pakistan, who last won the World Cup in 1992, will begin their campaign against West Indies at Trent Bridge on May 31. The final of the 50-over tournament is scheduled for Sunday July 14.
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by David Goodman