Danish Kaneria said on Friday there had been a “few players” in the Pakistan team who targetted him for being a Hindu but he never felt pressure to change his religion.
Speaking to ‘Samaa’ channel on Friday, Kaneria said, “Look I am a proud Hindu and Pakistani. I would like to make it clear here don’t try to portray our cricket fraternity in Pakistan in a negative manner because there are a lot of people who have supported me and backed me regardless of my religion.”
When asked to speak on Mohammad Yousuf, who converted to Islam in the middle of his cricket career, Kaneria said, “What Muhammad Yousuf did was his personal decision but I never felt the need to change my religion because I believe in it and no one forced me either to do it.”
Meanwhile, Yousuf himself took to Twitter to make a stand against Shoaib Akhtar’s statements, saying that he had never faced any discrimination as the only Christian in the team at a point of time.
I condemn the comments made about discrimination regarding players from the minority in the Pakistan Team. I have been a member of the team & I’ve always had a lot of love & support from the team, the management & the fans! Pakistan Zindabad
Shoaib said what he must have heard: Kaneria
A day after Kaneria said Shoaib Akhtar had been right about religious discrimination against him because of his Hindu faith, Kaneria on Friday seemed to side-step the issue.
“Shoaib bhai has said what he must have heard or someone must have told him but I have represented Pakistan at the highest level and I feel proud of it. When I came into cricket I always wanted to represent Pakistan at the highest level and I did that,” he said.
He added, “Inzamam (ul Haq) called me a match-winner. I can say lot of institutions supported me in my career. I always did my best on the ground to prove Inzamam right. The fact is I am proud to be a Pakistani.”
Pressed to name those few players who he felt targetted him, Kaneria said he would reveal their names later on his YouTube channel.
“The time is not right and I will use my channel to talk about it.”
Asked to recall any incident where players refused to eat with him, Kaneria said, “Pakistan is my janamBhumi and I don’t think anyone should politicise this issue or our cricket fraternity because of a few players’ behaviour. I request everyone don’t give it a wrong angle.”