Former Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Akhtar has hailed Pakistan as the “greatest nation” on the Earth during his diatribe against New Zealand Cricket for threatening to send the Pakistani cricket team back home after many of its players were caught on camera defying the COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
Akhtar, known as ‘The Rawalpindi Express’, made the remarks while speaking on his YouTube channel.
The former speedster said that New Zealand’s admonition about Pakistan cricket team not following the COVID-19 guidelines was below the belt attack. He cautioned the New Zealand cricket board to not consider Pakistan as a club team which can be threatened into submission. Akhtar added that Pakistan cricket team is an international cricket team and they don’t need New Zealand to sustain their cricket.
Shoaib Akhtar says New Zealand Cricket should be beholden to Pakistan for touring them
Even though Pakistan’s cricket team is struggling after consistent refusals from several nations to tour their country on account of rampant terror incidents, Shoaib Akhtar stated that New Zealand Cricket should be beholden to Pakistan for deciding to tour their country in such difficult times. Akhtar added that the Kiwis should be grateful that Pakistan is touring them despite not receiving any monetary compensation for the tour while they will be raking in the moolah from the broadcasting rights despite hosting the tour.
Akhtar advised New Zealand Cricket to behave in a polite manner and not issue such strident remarks for Pakistan, a country which he hailed as the “greatest nation on the planet”. He asked the Pakistan Cricket Board to show some spine by calling off the New Zealand tour and severe cricketing ties with the nation for the next five years.
If railing against New Zealand Cricket was not enough, Akhtar also trained guns at the PCB, faulting them for not arranging a chartered flight for sending Pakistani players to New Zealand. Akhtar claimed that during the tour of England, players were sent on chartered flights but this time around, they had to board commercial flights, travel to Dubai first, then to Kuala Lumpur and from there to Auckland.
NZ Cricket issues final warning to PCB after 6 Pakistani cricketers test COVID-19 positive
Earlier yesterday, PCB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Wasim Khan said that the New Zealand cricket board has given the Pakistan cricket team a “final warning” to strictly follow coronavirus safety guidelines.
The board, according to Khan, said that 3-4 coronavirus SOPs were broken by Pakistani players after which 6 players tested positive for the contagion. Khan said New Zealand has a “zero tolerance” policy towards violation of COVID-19 protocols.
He added that the New Zealand Cricket has also said that the entire Pakistan squad will be sent back home if there are any other violations. Khan estimates if this happens, it would be a big embarrassment for Pakistan cricket and which is why their margin of error is zero.
“It’s not easy. But this is a matter of the nation’s respect and credibility. Observe these 14 days and then you’ll have the freedom to go to restaurants and roam about freely. They have told me in clear terms that if we commit one more breach, they’ll send us home,” he said.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) had confirmed on Thursday that six members of the Pakistan cricket team in New Zealand had tested positive for coronavirus. With Pakistani players testing positive for the Chinese virus, the exemption to train while in isolation has been put on hold for now. Authorities in New Zealand have said that the Pakistani players caught the virus after they violated protocols on the first day of managed isolation. The New Zealand’s Minister of Health had also issued a statement backing NZC, adding that CCTV footage is clear evidence of a few members contravening the protocols despite ‘clear instructions’.