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‘Kaneria and Akhtar free to say what they want,’ PCB stays away from discrimination charges

Danish Kaneria thanked the former pacer Shoaib Akhtar in a statement and also acknowledged the support of other former cricketers.

SNS | New Delhi |

After Shoaib Akhtar revealed that Pakistani players had mistreated former spinner Danish Kaneria for being a Hindu, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Friday tried to keep itself away from the allegations by saying both Danish Kaneria and Shoaib Akhtar are free to say what they want.

The board also said that it cannot be held accountable for the religious discrimination charges and instead asked the former Pakistan captains who led the team during Kaneria’s playing days to respond.

“Look both Akhtar and Kaneria are retired players they are not contracted to us so they can do or say what they want. It is their opinion. And they are making allegations about the behaviour of some players not about the entire Pakistan cricket set-up or board,” a PCB spokesperson was quoted as saying by PTI.

The spokesperson questioned, “Inzamam-ul-Haq, Rashid Latif, Younis Khan, Muhammad Yousuf, all these guys captained Pakistan when Kaneria was playing. They should respond to what Akhtar and Kaneria are saying. Why should the board get involved?”

Speaking for the first time after Akhtar brought up his issue, Kaneria thanked the former pacer in a statement and also acknowledged the support of other former cricketers.

“Today, I saw the TV interview of the legendary bowler Shoaib Akhtar. I personally thank him for telling the truth to the world. At the same time, I am thankful to all great players who supported me wholeheartedly as a cricketer. Also thankful to media, genuine cricket administrators, and citizens of Pakistan who supported me regardless of my religious affiliation,” the former spinner said.

“Shoaib Akhtar has always been very blunt. I did not have the courage to speak about it but Shoaib bhai spoke about. I am proud that I have played for Pakistan and I have achieved so much against all the odds,” he added.

Speaking about PCB’s urge to the former captains, Kaneria said, “But I would like to add that Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf (formerly Yousuf Youhan), Younis Khan and Shoaib Akhtar always supported me for my cricketing abilities. I had never had any issues from their sides. I would like to clear this thing.”

Kaneria, who is Pakistan’s fourth-highest Test wicket-taker, also appealed to former captain and Prime Minister Imran Khan and asked for his intervention.

“At the same, my life is not in good shape and I approached many individuals in Pakistan and around the world to resolve my issues. Yet. I have not received any help. Issues of many cricketers of Pakistan have been resolved though. I gave everything possible for Pakistan as a cricketer and I am very proud of it. And I in the hour of need I am positive that the people of Pakistan will help.

“I need support from all legendary players of Pakistan including Honourable Prime Minister Imran Khan, cricket administrators of Pakistan and other countries to get me out the mess. Please come forward and help me out. I personally request all not to politicise the issue,” he said.