Danish Kaneria, the former Pakistan team spinner who was banned for spot-fixing, has been in news since Thursday. Former Pakistan cricket team fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar had disclosed that Danish was discriminated against for being a Hindu. The Hindu player in the Islamic state of Pakistan, meanwhile, has requested Prime Minister Imran Khan for help.
Kaneria wrote to Khan, “My condition is very bad and I have requested for help from many people in Pakistan and around the world, but so far I have not been able to get any help. The financial condition of many cricketers in Pakistan and their problems are solved. So I am confident that the Pakistanis will help me.”
Kaneria said, “I have done my best as a cricketer for the Pakistan team and I am proud of it. I think the people of Pakistan will come forward to help me at this time.”
The former cricketer told reporters, “I have sought help from many great Pakistanis and cricketers from all over the world to get out of this difficulty, including the current Prime Minister of Pakistan and former cricketer Imran Khan.”
Akhtar had accused the players of his own team on a television show on PTV Sports of religious discrimination. He had said on TV, “Many of the Pakistan team players did not even eat with Kaneria because he was a Hindu. They used to question how he could eat from the same place that his Muslim teammates ate from.”
“What if someone is a Hindu? He is playing well for the team,” Akhtar said he used to wonder those days when Kaneria was ill-treated.
Akhtar praised Kaneria, saying that the same Hindu had won a Test for Pakistan in England. “We could not have won the series without the effort of Kaneria, but not many people give him credit for it.”
But does Kaneria have a bone to pick with Akhtar? His stand on the issue a day after Akhtar dropped the bomb is confusing. While some media houses have reported that the Hindu cricketer denied any discrimination, others have claimed that he has accepted he was discriminated against but added that it did not make him think he should convert.
Meanwhile, ANI says he told the news agency, “He (Akhtar) told the truth. I’ll reveal the names of players who didn’t like to talk to me as I was a Hindu. I did not have the courage to speak on it earlier, but now I will.”
Finally, another cricketer Mohammad Yousaf has taken exception to the claim of discrimination. He tweeted, “I condemn the comments made about discrimination regarding players from the minority in the Pakistan Team. I have been a member of the team & I’ve always had a lot of love & support from the team, the management & the fans! Pakistan Zindabad.”