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The International Cricket Council handed Sarfraz Ahmed a four-match suspension following racist comments made by the Pakistan captain during the second ODI were picked up by a stump microphone.

Sarfraz was heard making a comment in Urdu about Andile Phehlukwayo during second one day international in Durban, where the South African all-rounder stitched a match-winning partnership with Rassie van der Dussen.

The comment could be translated as: "Hey black guy, where's your mother sitting today? What (prayer) have you got her to say for you today?"

"The ICC has a zero-tolerance policy towards conduct of this nature," the global cricket governing body's chief executive David Richardson said in a statement.

Timeline: Sarfraz-Phehlukwayo incident: all you need to know

The Pakistan captain later apologised for his comment on Twitter.

"I wish to extend my sincere apologies to any person who may have taken offence from my expression of frustration... My words were not directed towards anyone in particular and I certainly had no intention of upsetting anyone," Sarfraz wrote.

"I did not even mean for my words to be heard, understood or communicated to the opposing team or the cricket fans."

The apology was given weight by the ICC as it handed out its suspension.

"Sarfraz has promptly admitted the offence, was regretful of his actions and has issued a public apology, so these factors were taken into account when determining an appropriate sanction," said Richardson.

In the post-match presentation, Phehlukwayo, the player of the match in second ODI, seemed relaxed about having been the target of several comments by Pakistan players. "It was good chat," he said.