Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed feels former pacer Shoaib Akhtar has launched an attack rather than criticising him. The Pakistan captain was handed a four-match suspension by the ICC after he racially abused South Africa all-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo during the 2nd ODI.
Akhtar had taken to social media on the day when Sarfraz made the comments during the match saying,'This is not acceptable as a Pakistani. In my opinion he did this in the heat of the moment. I think he should apologize publicly," Akhtar had said in a Twitter video.
When asked about comments made by Akhtar about him after the incident, Sarfraz said what Akhtar had said had nothing to do with cricket and it was a personal attack.
"He [Shoaib Akhtar] is attacking me personally not criticising," Geo TV quoted Sarfraz, as saying.
Soon after returning from South Africa, Sarfaraz has said that he has realised his mistake and that is why he had immediately apologised publicly after the episode.
"It was a mistake and I have learnt from it," Sarfraz told reporters.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) was quick to express its utter disappointment about the ICC's decision to ban Sarfaraz, noting that he had apologised immediately for his remarks to the South African team and also went and met with Phehlukwayo and expressed regrets to him.
Sarfraz thanked PCB for its support but his supporters raised slogans against the ICC for the ban soon after his forced return to the country.
"I am thankful to the PCB for the way they have handled this case," Sarfaraz said.
"I also accept the ICC decision to ban me for four matches and for me that issue is closed but I will do whatever the PCB tells me to do," he added.
Pakistan will still have the third and final T20 international to play against South Africa on February 6 after the ban on Sarfaraz ends, but the PCB has called him back and appointed veteran Shoaib Malik to lead the team in his absence.