Shahid Afridi has responded to Danish Kaneria's startling charges that the latter was targeted because he was a Hindu and was forced to convert to Islam. Kaneria further claimed that his complaints about the harassment to the former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ijaz Butt went unheard.
Afridi, in an interview with the Pakistan news channel Geo News, stated that his former teammate is making these charges to gain cheap publicity. “He is accusing me to get cheap fame and money," he said.
Afridi, 42, further questioned why Kaneria did not complain to PCB and Habib Bank Limited at the time.
“Why is he placing allegations against me now? Why did he not complain to the Pakistan Cricket Board and Habib Bank Limited about my behavior towards him at that time?”
The former Pakistan skipper instead argued that Kaneria is evoking religious sentiments, “He is giving interviews to our rival country and evoking religious sentiments," he said.
In an interview with an Indian website, Kaneria stated that Afridi used to purposely bench him and that it wasn't until Younis Khan took over the reins that he started receiving regular games.
“Afridi was the captain of my department and used to bench me. However, when Younis Khan became the captain, he included me in all the games,” Danish Kaneria told Zee News.
“I was disturbed due to Shahid Afridi’s behavior towards me and the other team players used to tell Afridi not to bother me,” he added.
Kaneria went on to say that he confronted Afridi about his alleged wrongdoing and that he was fortunate that those around him were sympathetic.
“I confronted Afridi numerous times. I tried to make him understand that he is mistreating me. However, I was lucky that my other teammates were very supportive. I really enjoyed playing with them from the Day 1 of my career," he said.
He also alleged that the former all-rounder did force him to convert. “Yes, Afridi used to often tell me to convert to Islam. But, I never used to take him seriously. I believe in my religion and it does not depend on cricket," he said.