Karachi: Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar was embroiled in a controversy when he walked out of a TV program and resigned from his job as cricket analyst after being told to leave the set by the host of the show at state-owned PTV.
Akhtar, 46, said he had been treated badly and insulted on air by the host in the post-match show following Pakistan’s five-wicket win over New Zealand in ongoing T20 the World Cup on Tuesday.
Akhtar, who played 46 Tests and 163 ODIs, got up, took off his microphone, and left. Host Nauman Niaz didn’t attempt to call him back and showed no reaction at all and carried on with the show as normal.
But the other guests on the show including greats like Sir Vivian Richards, David Gower, Rashid Latif, Umar Gul, Rashid Latif, Aaqib Javed, and Pakistan women’s team captain Sana Mir were shaken by the incident.
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Akhtar’s walkout prompted a storm on social media with the majority of the netizens sympathizing with him and demanding an apology from the PTV sports host, Niaz, who is a well-known cricket historian and analyst who heads the PTV sports department.
Clips of the argument between Akhtar and the host which led to the resignation part were also shared widely on social media.
Akhtar himself took to Twitter on Wednesday to clarify his position.
”Multiple clips are circulating on social media so I thought I shud clarify. dr noman was abnoxious (sic) and rude when he asked me to leave the show,” Akhtar tweeted.
”It was embarrassing especially when u have legends like sir Vivian Richards and David Gower sitting on the set with some of my contemporaries and seniors and millions watching.
”I tried to save everyone from embarrassment by saying I was pulling dr norman’s leg with this mutual understanding that dr noman will also politely apologize and we will move on with the show, which he refused to do. Then I had no other choice.”
The problem began apparently when Akhtar ignored the line of questioning by the host and decided to talk about pacer Haris Rauf and chose to lavish praise on the Pakistan Super League franchise, Lahore Qalanders, and its coach, Aaqib for discovering Haris and supporting him properly.
”This is the guy who deserves all the credit. It was Lahore Qalanders who gave us Haris Rauf,” Akhtar said as he pointed towards the former Test pacer as Noman tried to interrupt him.
The host, clearly annoyed and irritated with Akhtar trying to undermine him, told Shoaib that he had been misbehaving with him and he would not tolerate that and in such circumstances, it was better if he left the show and then went for a commercial break.
”You have misbehaved with me and I am telling you you can leave the show now,” the host said.
After the break when the transmission resumed, there was more drama when Akhtar said he would like to close the unpleasant incident but demanded an apology from the host, who did not budge and started discussing the match. A few minutes later Akhtar turned to his fellow experts on the show and after apologizing to them announced he was resigning from PTV sports.
”My apologies for this but I am resigning immediately from PTV sports as I have been insulted and treated badly on live television in front of the nation,” he said.