Danish Kaneria has responded to Shoaib Akhtar’s claims of certain former Pakistan cricketers treating the ex-legspinner unfairly because of his Hindu faith, saying that the comments are indeed true. Kaneria said Akhtar bringing the topic out in public has given him a new-found confidence and he intends on making the names public shortly.
“Shoaib (Akhtar) has been a legend of the game. His words are also as blunt as his bowling,” Kaneria told PTI. “When I was playing, I did not have the courage to speak on these matters but after Shoaib bhai’s comments, I do. He has always supported me and also Inzy bhai (Inzamam-ul-Haq), Mohammad Yusuf and Younis bhai (Younis Khan).”
“Those who did not support me, I will make their names public soon. Having said that, I feel fortunate and honoured that I got to play for Pakistan.”
Akhtar on Thursday had made a strong claim that Kaneria faced discrimination at the hands of a few Pakistani cricketers including the then-captain on basis of religion. The former pacer further added that certain players were reluctant to even eat with Kaneria because of his belief.
“In my career, I fought with two-three (in the team) when they started talking on regionalism. Things like ‘who is from Karachi, Punjab or Peshawar’, that used to infuriate. So what if someone is a Hindu, he is doing well for the team,” Akhtar had said.
“Captain would raise eyebrows about him eating with us or taking the food from the same table. I told him that you could be the captain but your conduct is despicable. The same Hindu won the Test for us against England. If he is taking a bagful of wickets for Pakistan, he should play. We could not have won the series without Kaneria’s effort. But not many gave him credit for that.”
Kaneria, only the second Hindu to play for Pakistan after his maternal uncle Anil Dalpat, took 261 wickets in 61 Tests at an average of 34.79. He also played 18 ODIs.