If you follow Pakistan cricket, always expect the unexpected! You have had match-fixing scandals, terror attacks on a visiting team, brawls between the players, unseemly squabble between former players on live TV, the chief of the cricket board has had to make an unceremonious exit and the team’s leading player had been accused of sexual abuse. If you think you have seen it all wait till you hear the next shocker!
Former Pakistan opener Imran Nazir, whom Indians would remember as the one who gave their team an almighty scare in the final of the inaugural ICC World T20 in 2007, has revealed that he was poisoned at the peak of his career and it was Shahid Afridi, who stood behind him like a rock, helping him with money for his treatment when he had nothing left in the bank.
Also read - ‘I’ll Request Modi Sahab to Let Cricket Happen Between India and Pakistan’: Shahid Afridi
“When I recently got treated, including MRI and all, a statement was issued that I was given poison - mercury. It is a slow poison; it reaches your joint and damages them. For 8-10 years, all my joints were treated. All my joints had got damaged and for this reason, I suffered for almost 6-7 years. But even then, I prayed to God, ‘Please don’t make me bedridden’. And thankfully, that never happened," Nazir said on the Nadir Ali podcast.
“I used to walk around and all when people used to ask ‘You’re looking fine’. I doubted a lot of people but when and what did I eat, I cannot figure out. Because the poison doesn’t react instantly. It kills you for years. I still never wished bad for whoever did this. The person saving is better than the one who wants to kill," he added.
Nazir had to go through a long and painstaking process of treatment. The treatment cost around PKR 12-15 lakh. Nazir had ended up exhausting all his savings and when the time came for final treatment, he had nothing left. That’s when Afridi arrived with help.
Also read - ‘This is Not the Generation of Wars and Fights’: Afridi on India-Pakistan Asia Cup Row
“He helped me in my time of need. I had nothing left when I met Shahid bhai. Within a day, my doctor received the money in his account. He said ‘No matter how much money is needed, my brother should get well’. He spent around 40-50 lakh," Nazir said.
Afridi had directed his manager to send as much money as was required, Nazir revealed. The former opener thanked his doctor for sticking to the amount that was required.
Afridi is known to take part in various acts of charity and also runs his own charity, the Shahid Afridi Foundation, which has the objective of providing education and healthcare facilities.
Nazir had played a blistering 14-ball 33 in the World T20 Final in 2007 before being run out. India went on to win the match by five runs. Nazir played eight Tests, 79 ODIs and 25 T20Is between 1999 and 2012.
Get the latest Cricket News here