Friday Nov 27, 2020
Former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar is angry over New Zealand Cricket’s “threat” of sending Pakistan team home for violating health protocols, asking the board to “behave” itself and be careful when talking about the “greatest country on the planet”.
“I am angry that why are you threatening us? You are talking about Pakistan, the greatest country on the planet. So, behave yourself and stop giving this sort of statement against Pakistan,” said the former pacer in a video posted on his YouTube channel.
Akhtar warned the board to be careful “next time” telling the New Zealand board that such a statement was “out of limits”. He also reminded them that they were talking about a country and its national team.
“I would like to give a message to New Zealand and their board that this is not a club team, it’s Pakistan’s national team,” said Akhtar. He added that it was New Zealand that needed the Pakistan team to play the series and not the other way around.
“We do not need you! Our cricket is not ending and neither can you say that this tour will finish,” said the former pacer. He added that it will be New Zealand Cricket board that will benefit from the broadcasting rights.
“So, you should be indebted to us that we are coming and doing a tour in such a time and doing all these things for you,” said Akhtar.
The Rawalpindi Express also asked the Pakistan team to now give a “beating” to the New Zealand side in response to the statement.
Akhtar, who said multiple times in the video that he was hurt, slamming the PCB for their response by saying that the PCB should have issued a strong response against the statement.
“If I was in their place, I would have given them a statement and they would have realized. And I would have said let’s go back we do not want to play with them and not play [in New Zealand] for 5 years,” said the former speedster.
The former fast bowler alleged that the PCB does not know how to speak and are standing with their “hands tied”.
The former pacer also lashed out at the PCB and New Zealand Cricket board for not making the appropriate arrangements.
The Rawalpindi express stated that the PCB should have arranged a charter flight for the squad like it did for the England tour. He also slammed the PCB for agreeing to the three-day quarantine period when it was in talks with the New Zealand cricket board abut the tour.
Akhtar said that the three-day period is like a “prison sentence”, adding that the PCB should have discussed with the New Zealand board about the hotel they would locate the team in.
The former Pakistan pacer expressed his anger towards the New Zealand board saying that they should have made the team stay in a single hotel, not with 2,000 other people.
The former pacer advised the players to follow the safety protocols as these were “odd times”, and told the boys that have tested positive to survive the 15-day quarantine.
“If such touring would have happened during my time, I would have not played cricket,” said the former pacer. He added he would have opted out as the players cannot go outside and do anything.
Akhtar's statement came after PCB CEO Wasim Khan on Thursday said that the New Zealand cricket board has given the Pakistan cricket team a "final warning" to adhere to coronavirus safety guidelines.
The board, according to Khan, has claimed that three to four standard operating procedures (SOPs) were violated by Pakistani cricketers, following which six tested positive for coronavirus.
Khan said that the New Zealand government has a "zero tolerance policy" towards violation of coronavirus safety protocols.
"(I know) it is a difficult time, it won't be easy for you all," he said in a message intended for the cricketers. "(But) this concerns the prestige and integrity of the country. Please follow coronavirus safety protocols for the next 14 days."
He said that the board has warned that any further violation of SOPs would result in the Pakistan cricket team being sent back home. "If the team is sent back home, it will be a huge embarrassment for the entire country," he said.
In a final warning to the players, he reiterated that the New Zealand government will not compromise on the issue of health.
Six players of the Pakistan team that travelled to New Zealand have tested positive for the coronavirus, the country's cricket board had revealed earlier today.
"NZC was made aware today that six members of the Pakistan touring squad, currently in managed isolation in Christchurch, have tested positive for COVID-19," said the board in a statement.
The board said that two out of the six were cases of reinfection, while the other four were marked as "new". It added that following the test results the six individuals will be moved to the "quarantine arm of the managed isolation facility".
"The Pakistan team’s exemption to train while in managed isolation has been put on hold until investigations have been completed," said the board following the test results.
It is important to mention that the squad had tested negative four times before leaving Lahore.
The New Zealand cricket board said that some members of the team had "contravened protocols on the first day of managed isolation".
"We will be having discussions with the tourists to assist them in understanding the requirements," said the board.
Pakistan will play three T20Is and two Test matches in New Zealand next month. On the sidelines, Pakistan Shaheens will also play two 4-day games against New Zealand A on the tour.