Accepting his mistake after being banned for his racial remarks against South African cricketer Andile Phehlukwayo, Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed on Tuesday said that he has learnt a lesson from the unsavoury episode.

Soon after returning from South Africa, Ahmed 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,” he told reporters.

Ahmed, who is Pakistan’s captain in all three formats, has been forced to return home after the ICC had imposed a four-match ban for his comments during the third one-day international against South Africa in Durban.

The Pakistan Cricket Board was quick to express its utter disappointment about the ICC’s decision to ban Ahmed, noting that he met with Phehlukwayo and expressed regrets to him. Ahmed thanked PCB for its support but his fans 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,” Ahmed 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.”

Around a 100 people holding banners and placards in favour of Ahmed and against the ICC were at the Karachi airport to greet him when he came out of the terminal building.

Ahmed would have been eligible for third and final T20 international to play against South Africa on February 6 after the ban ends, but PCB has called him back and appointed veteran Shoaib Malik to lead the team in his absence.

Malik led the team to victory in the fourth ODI to level the five-match series at 2-2 with the decider to be played on Wednesday.

Speculations are rife in Pakistan cricket that if Malik manages to win the ODI and T20 series, he could well be considered to lead Pakistan in the ICC World Cup in England.

“I have no issues with the PCB decision to call me back. In a way I see it as a good chance to get some rest and prepare for the coming Pakistan Super League as I have been playing non-stop cricket for around five months now,” Ahmed said for his part.