Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has hit out at South Africa’s AB de Villiers after the later offered to come out of international retirement to play for his country in the ongoing ICC Cricket World Cup in England and Wales.
In a strongly-worded video on his youtube channel, Akhtar questioned the timing of De Villiers’ revelations and said that it was only a gimmick to grab headlines.
Accusing the former South Africa skipper of choosing ‘money over country’, Akhtar said that De Villiers’ decision to quit international cricket was solely motivated for monetary gains.
“Recently AB De Villiers announced that he wants to play for South Africa in the World Cup. This is big news but why is he issuing such statements when South Africa are down and out,” Akhtar said.
“Firstly, people must not forget that there was pressure on AB De Villiers to leave IPL and PSL contracts and make himself available for the World Cup. However, he chose the IPL and PSL, announced an early retirement and recused himself from the World Cup.”
“So basically everything started with finance. I think when he took this decision, he did it looking at his finances and economics.”
“The timing of this revelation raises serious questions (with South Africa performing poorly in the World Cup).”
“South Africa was in poor form even when he had announced his retirement a year before the World Cup. But I think he should have remembered (at that point) that his country needs him. The money will come today or tomorrow but you the call of making money and ignore the World Cup.”
“This was despite having two World Cup’s left in you (2019 and the T20 tournament in 2020).”
“I don’t mind people making money but do it in the right way. If you indeed have to make money then pick and chose correctly but keep your country as the priority.”
“Now to clear your name you made a last-ditch offer to come out of international retirement for this summer’s World Cup. But I think the management was correct in their stand.”
“Now I think, you wanted to loot the whole mela and become breaking news by coming out into the team but that is not right.”
‘Jab apne faisla kar liya hai tab banda mard ka bachcha banta hai aur mard ka bachcha tab banta hai jab paise chhor deta hai.’ (Be a man and stick to your decision and that is only possible once you let go of the lure of money)
“Kerry Packer happened but that was bad for the game. India had ICL and IPL together and at that point of time, I was offered money to quit playing for Pakistan and join ICL.”
“PCB threatened that they would impose a ban on me. But I told them that I do not care about the ban because what matters most is that I want to represent my country.”
“I was offered tons and millions of dollars from ICL but I bluntly told them no. In the IPL I was offered half of that money by Kolkata Knight Riders but I played and got a lot of love from the city of Kolkata and India. My loyalty remained with Pakistan despite many other Pakistani players choosing ICL.”
“So be a man and do not go after money because you have made enough money. After so many years of service to your country, these were the last two years and people would have remembered you fondly had you bowed out respectfully.”
“Now, this statement of wanting to play for South Africa a month before the World Cup is just a gimmick and it is just about clearing his name. He made a bad move by retiring early and secondly when you retired then stick to your decision now.”
“Forget about your country. Now your country is down and out because of you. Had you been there in the middle-order for South Africa then maybe they would not have performed so badly in the World Cup and who knows they could have also scripted a turnaround.”
“It’s very sad that you have chosen money over your country,” he concluded.
While Akhter’s words may be the sharpest, the basic sentiment expressed by him seems to be shared by many others. The refusal of South African team management to bring back de Villiers has received wide support.