Updated: December 28, 2019 7:35:55 pm
Days after claims of Danish Kaneria being mistreated in Pakistan cricket because of his Hindu faith were made by Shoaib Akhtar, former Pakistan captain Inzamam ul Haq said Pakistanis cannot have such small hearts and that religion has no role to play in cricket.
On his Youtube channel ‘Inzamam ul Haq – The Match Winner’, Inzamam, the captain Kaneria played under the most, said Kaneria had in fact been chosen to play in the team over Saqlain Mushtaq during his stint, because Kaneria was thought to be the country’s future.
Here is what Inzamam said in the video:
“I have been hearing about this controversy with Danish, that when he played then some boys didn’t think well about him or didn’t want to eat with him or go out with him.
“The captain who Danish played the most under is me, and I never felt this thing, that there is any such thing in our team, that any player treats another player badly if he is a non-Muslim. I never noted even a single example of any such thing in our team.
“Like there was Yousuf in the team and he was a non-Muslim but by the grace of Allah, he became a Muslim and became Mohammad Yousuf. He never felt anything before when he was Yousuf Youhana or after conversion. If he felt any such thing before, I don’t think he would have converted.
“I am not ready to accept that we have such small hearts that we did a thing like this, that we didn’t accept someone. I think Pakistanis have big hearts and we can accept everyone in our hearts.
“In 2004, India came to Pakistan after 15 years and Pakistanis welcomed them with open arms. Wherever they went to eat, shopping, go in a taxi, nobody took money from them.
“One year later we had a tour of India, I was the captain on both tours. The same reply we got from India, they opened the doors of their houses and invited us to stay as guests. They made food, they didn’t take money for shopping.
“There is so much love between the people of the two countries so I don’t think that any such thing can be possible, that our hearts can be so small. I was the captain of the team at the time and this isn’t correct.
“The claim that we don’t like eating together – Before the 2005 tour of India, I had gone there for a shoot in Kolkata. Ganguly was there from the Indian side and just before that, he opened a restaurant that Sachin and I inaugurated. Sourav would send me food from his restaurant and I used to eat it.
“When we went on tours like in Sharjah, we used to be in the same hotel and I often used to see players of teams sitting in each other’s rooms, joking around and eating together. So from both sides, I never saw any such thing.
“President Musharraf once invited me and the whole team was there. He said to me I have heard that you pick players who offer namaz or have a beard and you don’t select others, so I started laughing. Musharraf Sahib was a loving person and took care of me, so he asked me for my point of view, why are you quiet? I said that religion has its own place and cricket has its own, they don’t mix and I don’t believe in that. If you think I am on the path of my deen then our deen says that when it comes to justice, you have to do justice whether it’s a Muslim or non-Muslim.
“(Saqlain) Mushtaq was a good friend of mine since childhood and we played cricket together, but I gave Kaneria preference because he was Pakistan’s future and Mushtaq was dropped in my captaincy.
“I believe that we as a country, Pakistan, our hearts are very big and we can accept everyone in our hearts. Our hearts have never been so small that we deal with anyone in this manner.
“I was saddened to hear about this news because I was captain at the time. I don’t think this news is correct and I don’t think people should take it seriously.”
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