Shoaib Akhtar apologises for hitting teammate

Sunday, September 9, 2007

KARACHI: Shoaib Akhtar apologised on Friday for hitting teammate Mohammad Asif, but said he was provoked into the act which saw him sent home from the Twenty20 World Cup.

Akhtar also compared his behaviour to that of French footballing icon Zinedine Zidane, who stunned the world when he head-butted Italian defender Marco Materazzi in the final of the 2006 World Cup in Germany last year.

“I am sorry for my act. It was a two-minute temper loss which caused me and my team embarrassment and I apologise,”
said Akhtar as he headed back to Pakistan from Johannesburg in South Africa. The 32-year-old hit Asif on the leg with a cricket bat after a row during a practice session in Johannesburg on Thursday and the team management in consultation with the Pakistan Cricket Board decided to expel him.

“I was provoked and I will brief the media about the whole affair on Saturday evening when I return home. I have never hit anyone like that and I am very sorry,”
he added.

The injury-prone paceman was on the comeback trail with Pakistan who begin their Twenty20 campaign against Scotland at Durban on Wednesday.

Akhtar begged forgiveness from Pakistan’s obsessive cricket fans.
“Don’t make me a villain. I am a human being and I can also make mistakes. I am sorry for what happened and I hope people will forgive me. I am not a bad human being, it’s just that I get angry more often than others,”
he said.

“I have missed a lot of cricket though injuries and now this has happened. I desperately want to play,”
he added.

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