After Shahid Afridi spoke on senior players treating him harshly during his playing days, his ex-teammate Shoaib Akhtar came forward to back the former Pakistan all-rounder and said that he saw it happening with his own eyes.
Afridi has been in news since his autobiography ‘Game Changer’ hit the market. In the book, the former captain has expressed that he was a victim of harsh treatment by seniors in the Pakistan cricket team.
He even claimed that former coach Javed Miandad did not let him bat at the nets once before a Test match against arch-rival India in Chennai in 1999.
Speaking on a TV programme ‘Game On Hai’, Akhtar backed Afridi’s statement saying he had himself seen the senior players treating Afridi harshly. “I think Shahid Afridi has written less in his book about the harsh treatment he received from senior players during his playing days. I witnessed some of it with my own eyes and totally agree with him,” Akhtar said.
He, however, added that ten of the senior players had later apologised to them. “Later down the years, 10 of these senior players asked us for forgiveness, before leaving for Umrah, for the way they treated us,” he said.
Whatever @SAfridiOfficial has written about harsh behavior from seniors, reality was much more than that. He should have said more.
Actually he should have said it 20 years ago. If he did at the right time, he wouldn’t have had to write a book today. pic.twitter.com/ISpK8VqG6t
— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) 9 May 2019
Thank you Shoaibi! Followed in your footsteps and wrote a book :) Never wanted to hurt any former player. Only trying to state facts. See you soon! https://t.co/BurdJraGKE
— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) 9 May 2019
Meanwhile, former Test spinner Nadeem Khan confirmed that Afridi was not allowed to practice for the Test against India. Speaking to PTI, Nadeem said, “What he has written is correct but there is a background to it. I was Afridi’s roommate throughout the tour in India and I just felt that maybe Javed Miandad had played a psychological ploy with him to get him riled up for the Test match.” Afridi went onto score a hundred in the match.
“But I can also say this with honesty that Javed bhai as coach was very dedicated and not only Afridi, he worked hard with all other batsmen to help them get runs. He used to work a lot with Afridi in the nets. The incident in Chennai was a one-off thing. To describe Javed bhai as a small man in the book I think is wrong choice of word,” Nadeem said.
Narrating an incident that took place in 2007-08, Akhtar said that Afridi was once made to return back from a camp in Abbotabad after he got in an argument with the then team manager Talat Ali, who is again managing the side for the World Cup.
Recalling an incident, Akhtar said Afridi was once told to return home from a camp in Abbotabad after exchanging words with the then team manager Talat Ali. “It so happened that we were returning on bus from training and I was sitting with Salman Butt upfront. Afridi came inside and asked Butt to vacate the seat to which Talat lost his cool and questioned why Butt should leave his seat,” Akhtar recalled.
“Afridi also exchanged some words with Talat. Later that night Shoaib Malik told me they had decided to send Afridi back home because of the incident. I then took up the issue with Talat sahab and the Cricket Board (PCB),” he added.
Akhtar revealed that he was also at the receiver’s end of physical threat. “Once during a tour of Australia, four players approached with the intention of hitting me with a bat,” said the 43-year-old former speedster.
The ‘Game Changer’ is in troubled waters after a petition was filed in Sindh High Court (SHC) stop further publication of his book for using inappropriate language against former cricketers. Afridi also revealed in his book his real age.