The once promising career of Pakistani cricketer Danish Kaneria had been cut short by a spot-fixing scandal. The leg-spinner was heavily involved in the Pakistan Test team as he played 61 tests picking up 261 wickets at an average of 34.79. There has been an unanswered question about why Danish Kaneria wasn’t involved in the games shorter formats, as he has played a meagre 16 One Day Internationals. It turns out that Kaneria’s career flourished the game’s longer formats because of the absence of Shahid Afridi who was quite simply not suited for tests.
Shahid Afridi who was a regular in ODIs and also went on to captain Pakistan in all three formats, made sure that Danish Kaneria’s career was destroyed as in an explosive revelation, Kaneria has claimed that Afridi used to discriminate against him and had been a thorn in his career ever since the beginning, perhaps because of the fact that Danish Kaneria is a Hindu, something which didn’t go down well with Afridi.
Danish Kaneria who was recently in the news as Shoaib Akhtar revealed that the Pakistan cricket team discriminated against Kaneria because he was a Hindu, revealed that Afridi discriminated against him and kept him out of the One Day team. In a recent interview, Danish Kaneria said, “Shoaib Akhtar had spoken the truth and I had gone through all that. Shahid Afridi had also been against me since the beginning. He kept me out of the one-day side.”
He further added, “When we used to play together for the same department, he used to keep me on the bench and didn’t let me play the one-day tournament. He always wanted to keep me out of the team. I only played 16 ODIs in my 10-year career as I used to get only two or three matches every year.”
Danish Kaneria had pleaded guilty to the 2009 spot-fixing scandal and was unsurprisingly, vilified and hounded. In 2010, in a test match against England, the then test captain Salman Butt, pacer Mohammad Asif and youngster Mohammad Amir were involved in match fixing and subsequently punished. However, ahead of Mohammad Amir’s return after serving out his five year sentence away from cricket, Pakistan laid out a red carpet for him with the likes of Wasim Akram claiming that Amir is the future of Pakistan cricket. However, Kaneria found no support when he was embroiled in a spot-fixing scandal.
He said, “If Wasim Akram could favor Mohammad Amir, why can’t he say two words for me? Or why don’t any of the Pakistan cricket superstars speak for me? I have admitted my mistake and I regret it but that does not mean you can take away my life. Either you impose life-ban on every player who has been part of fixing since 1994. Why rules are different for individuals based on liking or disliking.”
In December last year, Shoaib Akhtar during a talk show revealed that, “I had a fight with two or three players. I said that even if someone is a Hindu, he will play. And that same Hindu won us the test series… some people asked the reason why he (Danish) is having meals with us. I told all of them that I am going to pick you up from right here and throw you away. You would be a captain, but on your own property. He is providing 6-6 wickets. In England, it had been Danish and Shami who had won the game for people.”
Shoaib Akhtar also spoke about Yousuf Yohana (now Mohammed Yousuf). Yohana, originally a Christian, was forced to convert to Islam after he too faced unprecedented discrimination by his teammates and the establishment, and people at large. His parents had vehemently protested his decision to convert, however, he was left with no other option. Rashid Latif said, “Yousuf Yohana was bullied a lot. He was also a God-gifted player.” Shoaib added, “Yusuf was to have 12,000 runs. But, we never guarded him.”
Danish Kaneria’s case should serve as a reminder to all those who question India’s treatment of its minorities. It must be mentioned that India has had innumerable players from the minority communities, unlike Pakistan. Of course, to even compare India with Pakistan is a shameful proposition, but let me indulge for the larger good. Right from Syed Kirmani to Mohammad Shami, from Azharuddin (who also became captain) to Yusuf and Irfan Pathan, from Zaheer Khan to Mohd Kaif, India has never discriminated against players on the basis of their religion. Harbhajan Singh, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Yuvraj Singh, Bishan Singh Bedi, etc, have been the Sikh cricketers of the Indian team. Never has anyone treated these players as untouchables, unlike in Pakistan, where the pompous players refuse to even break bread with a ‘kaafir’.
Shahid Afridi over the years has shown his true colours as he has revealed his radical Islamist mindset and has displayed his absolute hatred for Hindus. In an interview, Afridi proudly revealed that he once smashed his TV after he found his daughter watching an Indian serial on Star Plus where a Hindu Aarti was being performed.
Afridi has been a habitual offender and has ranted against Kashmir regularly to be taken down by Gautam Gambhir. Recently, Afridi was seen ranting against Prime Minister Modi and mocking the Indian Army as “chicks” as he laughably claimed that Pakistan has always wanted peace. Afridi’s pain was clearly visible as India is moving in a determined manner to reclaim Pakistan occupied Kashmir in the backdrop of India abrogating Article 370.
Shahid Afridi has a personal enmity with India and its armed forces as Afridi’s cousin, a terrorist, was shot dead by Indian forces in an encounter in Anantnag in 2003. Afridi’s cousin, Shaquib was a battalion commander of the terrosit organisation Harkat-ul-Ansar, which has now become Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is nothing but another front of Hafiz Saaed’s Jamaat-ud-Dawa, India’s most wanted and a designated global terrorist.
Shahid Afridi perhaps wants to become another Imran Khan and become the Prime Minister of Pakistan as the Pakistan Army has eliminated or jailed all the politicians who were a threat to the Army and have found that cricketers are a perfect puppet as Imran Khan is a shining example of this fact. Recently, Afridi in a PR move, decided to visit a Hindu Temple and distribute essential items in what can be seen as the first steps of an image makeover.
The treatment meted out to Danish Kaneria is just an example of just how badly the minorities are treated in Pakistan as the minority population has been in free fall since 1947 as from 23% at the time of Partition, Hindus constitute around 5-6% of the total population today and will continue to decline as Pakistan attempts to displace whatever little minority population which is there in the country as they attempt to make Pakistan a complete Islamic nation.