“We forgive him because he said sorry,” du Plessis said after South Africa’s training session on Thursday. “He has apologised and taken responsibility for it. It is out of our hands and ICC will have to deal with it now.”
Sarfraz was caught on the broadcast stump mics making what seemed to be a racist comment towards allrounder Andile Phehlukwayo during the course of South Africa’s tense chase at Kingsmead.
Sarfraz was caught clearly on the stump mics saying, in Urdu: “Abey kaale, teri ammi aaj kahaan baitheen hain? Kya parwa ke aaye hai aaj?”
Translated literally that is: “Hey black guy, where’s your mother sitting today? What [prayer] have you got her to say for you today?”
Sarfraz issued a general apology via Twitter the day after the incident, claiming that his comments were “not directed towards anyone in particular.” The ICC has received a report from match referee Ranjan Madugalle and is currently considering the matter.
“When you come to South Africa, you have to be very careful when you make racial comments,” du Plessis said. “I am sure he didn’t mean it like that but he has taken responsibility and we will have to see what the outcome of that is going to be. This is not something that we take lightly as a team, but the fact that he apologised straight away means there is regret on his part.
“We’re not taking it lightly, but that fact that there was an immediate apology shows there is regret. We can forgive but that doesn’t mean we brush it under the table.”
Phehlukwayo has made no comment on the incident, and du Plessis suggested that he had not noticed the comment at the time – the language barrier meaning Phehlukwayo did not understand what was said.
“Andy [Phehlukwayo] says he didn’t even notice it and thus felt it wasn’t really directed at him,” du Plessis said. “I suppose maybe because we didn’t understand it makes a bit of a difference. But it certainly doesn’t sit well with us. There seemed to be immediate regret.
“We’re gracious. We forgive quite easily, except maybe against the Aussies.”