Karachi: Former Pakistani pacer Shoaib Akhtar has said cricketer Danish Kaneria was treated differently in the team because he was a Hindu during their playing days.
"In my career, the number of times I have had to argue with people regarding the issues of Karachi, Punjab, Peshawar is outrageous. People used to ask questions like, 'Why are you eating (with us) here?' to Hindu players like Danish Kaneria," Akhtar said at a show titled "Game on Hai".
"I used to reply to those players, 'How would you feel if I took your food from your house and forced to make you eat outside?'" he said.
Akhtar added that he used to be enraged by his teammates' behaviour when they refused to break bread with Kaneria because of his religion and did not give him due credit for his performances.
"I used to get very angry when anyone was discriminated on the basis of region or religion. A Hindu born in Pakistan is entitled to represent his country. When that Hindu (Kaneria) won us the Test series against England (in 2005), I was upset with my teammates for mistreating him," said the celebrated former pacer.
Kaneria is fourth in the list of bowlers who have taken most Test wickets for Pakistan, behind only fast bowlers Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, and Imran Khan.
He was handed a lifetime ban by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) after allegations of him being involved in match fixing surfaced.
I will soon reveal their names: Kaneria
Danish Kaneria on Tuesday lauded Pakistan pacer, Shoaib Akhtar, for his comment regarding the treatment faced by Kaneria and said that whatever Akhtar said was true and he is very thankful to him for taking such a brave stand.
"I am very thankful to Shoaib Akhtar bhai for his remarks. Whatever he said was true. I have never said anything to him although he came for my support," Kaneria told ANI.
The 39-year-old Kaneria, who played 61 Tests for Pakistan, is the second Hindu to feature in the Pakistani cricket team after Anil Dalpat.
The spinner, who had 261 Test wickets and 15 ODI scalps, said that he did not have the courage to speak about that but after Akhtar's statement he will soon name players who have issues with him during his cricketing days.
"The players who didn't like to talk to me just because I was a Hindu. Soon I will reveal their names. I did not have the courage to speak in this regard, but now I got the courage to speak on this issue when I heard Shoaib's statement," Kaneria said.
Kaneria said there were players like Younis Khan, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, and Akhtar who were nice to him irrespective of his religion.