London: South Africa skipper Faf du Plessis has said that the team has forgiven Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed for his racial remarks on one of their players.
"We forgive him because he said sorry. He has apologised and taken responsibility for it. It is out of our hands and ICC will have to deal with it now," ESPNcricinfo quoted du Plessis, as saying.
Sarfraz had hurled racial remarks at the South African batsman Andile Phehlukwayo during their second one-day match of the ongoing five-match series at the Kingsmead Cricket Ground on Tuesday.
He was picked up by the stump mic saying, "Hey black [man], where is your mother sitting? What prayer did you get her to say for you today?" (Abay kaalay, teri ammi aaj kahan baitheen hain? Kya parhwa ke aya hai aaj tu?).
Du Plessis said that they did not take the incident lightly but since he immediately apologised for the same, it shows that there is regret. He, however, added that they have forgiven the player but are not willing to brush the matter under the table.
"When you come to South Africa, you have to be very careful when you make racial comments. 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," du Plessis said.
"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," he added.
When asked about Phehlukwayo reaction on the incident, the right-hand batsman said that the player did not even notice the comment.
"Andy [Phehlukwayo] says he didn't even notice it and thus felt it wasn't really directed at him. 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," du Plessis said.
South Africa had won the second match against Pakistan to level the ongoing series 1-1. Both the teams are slated to play their third ODI on January 25 at the SuperSport Park Cricket Stadium.