Former Pakistan spinner Danish Kaneria has been vocal about his international career and the various controversies that he was involved in throughout his career. Kaneria had earlier supported former Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar who was Kaneria’s teammate who had claimed that the spinner was discriminated against by a few Pakistani cricketers so much so that they refused to eat with him since he is a Hindu.
Now, Kaneria has put serious allegation against former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi. Kaneria suggested that Afridi treated him unfairly all through his career and blamed Afridi for ruining his One Day International (ODI) career.
Notably, Kaneria is only the second Hindu to play for Pakistan after his maternal uncle Anil Dalpata. He claimed 261 wickets in 61 Tests at an average of 34.79 but only featured in 18 ODIs for Pakistan between 2000 and 2010.
“He (Afridi) was always against me when we were playing for the same department in domestic cricket or playing me in ODIs. If one person is always against you and you are in that situation, what other reason would think other than that (religion),” Kaneria told PTI.
“I could not play more ODIs because of him and he also treated me unfairly when we used to play for the same department (in domestic cricket), he was the captain. He used to keep me out of the side and often he would do the same in ODIs without any reason,” he added.
“He used to support others but not me. Thanks to almighty, I still went on to play a lot for Pakistan and I could not be more proud of that,” the leg-spinner said.
“I was a leg spinner and so was he. That was another reason. He was a big star and playing for Pakistan anyway and to treat me like that, I could not understand why,” he said.
“They used to say two spinners can’t play in the eleven. They used to say my fielding was an issue in limited-overs cricket. You tell me who were the supremely fit leaders at that time? There were only one or two good fielders. Pakistan was never known for fielding anyway,” he carried on.
“When not playing international cricket, he used to come back and drop me from the departmental team.”
Kaneria was later found to be guilty of spot-fixing alongside Mervyn Westfield while playing for English county Essex against Durham in 2009.
“I don’t want to play the religion card. All I want is PCB’s support. If they can allow Mohammad Aamir, Salman Butt back into the system, why not me? “Yes, I made a mistake but so did others. They can’t use and throw me like a toilet paper. I have served Pakistan for a long time and they should support me after all these years.” Kaneria said.
Most of the leggie’s international career was spent under the captaincy of Inzamam-ul-Haq and he admitted that Inzamam and Younis Khan supported him the most.
“I played under Moin Khan, Rashid Latif, Inzy bhai, Younish bhai. I played very little under Afridi. Inzy bhai and Younis bhai supported me a lot and it is a fact.
“However, Inzy bhai doesn’t talk about me positively in public but I will always be thankful to him for his support. I flourished under him,” Kaneria concluded.
(With inputs from PTI)