Giving credence to allegations of rampant discrimination against non-Muslims in Pakistan, former leg spinner Danish Kaneria has accused Shahid Afridi of treating him unfairly and ruining his ODI career because he belonged to “Hindu” religion.
Kaneria was only the second Hindu to play for Pakistan after his maternal uncle Anil Dalpat. Kaneria played 61 Tests and took 261 wickets at an average of 34.79. However, he only played 18 ODIs between 2000 and 2010.
“He 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 news agency PTI when asked if he was a victim of religious discrimination.
Kaneria, who last year supported Shoaib Akhtar’s claim that he was treated unfairly in the team because of his religion, said he could have played a lot more than 18 ODIs if it was not for Afridi.
“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 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.”
Kaneria said he used to be a regular member of ODI squads but hardly got to play, blaming Afridi again for that.
“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.
“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.
“When not playing international cricket, he used to come back and drop me from the departmental team.”
Kaneria, who was found guilty of spot-fixing alongside Mervyn Westfield while playing for English county Essex against Durham in 2009, has been pleading for PCB’s help for a long time. He wants to come back into the PCB fold and serve the game again.
“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”.