Former Pakistani cricketer Imran Nazir has revealed that he was poisoned with mercury while he was at the peak of his career resulting in his joints getting damaged and his career spiraling down. He also thanked Shahid Afridi for paying for his medical treatment which kept him from being bedridden.
Nazir, who had played 8 Tests and 79 ODIs for Pakistan between 1999 and 2012, spread over many comebacks, had first disclosed the illness last May. He scored 427 Test runs and 1895 ODI runs with his highest score being 160, which came against West Indies in the 2007 World Cup and remains the highest individual score by any Pakistani in World Cup history.
However, his career dwindled down and fizzled out after he developed joint problems and at one point in time was bedridden as well. Nazir had revealed that he couldn’t use his hands, or bend his fingers fully, his joints pained and locked.
"When I recently got treated, including MRI and all, a statement was issued that I was given poison - Mercury. It is a slow poison; it reaches your joint and damages them. For 8-10 years, all my joints were treated. All my joints had gotten damaged and for this reason, I suffered for almost 6-7 years. But even then, I prayed to God, 'Please don't make me bedridden'. And thankfully, that never happened," Nazir said on the Nadir Ali podcast.
"I used to walk around and all when people used to ask 'You're looking fine'. I doubted a lot of people but when and what did I eat, I cannot figure out. Because the poison doesn't react instantly. It kills you for years. I still never wished bad for whoever did this. The person saving is better than the one who wants to kill,” he said.
Nazir also revealed that he exhausted all of his life savings in treatments to get him back on his feet, which required several years. Nazir said that during his tough time, Shahid Afridi stood beside him like a rock and helped him financially as well.
"I have spent my entire life's saving on my treatment. In the end, there was a final treatment, in which Shahid Afridi helped me a lot. He helped me in my time of need. I had nothing left when I met Shahid bhai. Within a day, my doctor received the money in his account. He said 'No matter how much money is needed, my brother should get well'. He spent around 40-50 lakh. I was happy that he had told his manager 'Don't even ask about him. Keep sending how much money he needs'. The credit even goes to my doctor that he never tried to cheat me. He stuck to the amount that was required," added Nazir.
Nazir last played any competitive cricket in 2018.