Former Pakistani cricketer Ramiz Raja has hit out at the country's ex-pace sensation Shoaib Akhtar, terming him a "delusional superstar", as the controversy surrounding the latter's remarks regarding national team players deepens.
The controversial remarks from the former seamer, popularly known as Rawalpindi Express for his extraordinary speed in bowling, surfaced recently and didn't sit well with the cricket fans.
Raja highlighted the recent incident where Akhtar ridiculed his fellow cricketer Kamran Akmal over his English pronunciation of screen, saying "sakreen nahi hota, screen hota hai (it's not sakreen, it's screen)".
"Shoaib Akhtar is a delusional superstar. He also had an issue recently with Kamran Akmal. He wants everyone to become a brand, but it is more important to become a human first. First become a human and then a brand," Raja said on a local news channel.
"Our former players degrade our cricket brand by giving delusional statements. You will never see that happening in our neighbouring country. You will never see Sunil Gavaskar criticising Rahul Dravid. It only happens in Pakistan, where former players don’t let others do their job professionally," he added.
Raja also took a dig at Akhtar while talking about the latter becoming the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
"He [Akhtar] needs to get a graduate degree first in order to become eligible for the chairmanship of PCB," he said.
Recently, cricketer-turned-commentator Alan Wilkins also questioned Akhtar’s remarks on speedster Shaheen Afridi.
"If I was in his [Shaheen Afridi] place, I would have become the greatest celebrity of Pakistan during those 12 minutes by bowling the same number of deliveries. I would've come to bowl, fall, break my knees, but I would've got up, used injection to numb my knees, and repeated the same again," Akhtar said while talking about Shaheen not completing his remaining overs, due to injury, during the final of last year’s T20 World Cup against England.
"People would've told me that I would die, but I would rather die than let the World Cup slip away from our hands. This was the moment that you could've become a superstar. If I was there, I would've died for Pakistan," he added.
However, Wilkins opposed Akhtar's remarks in a tweet on Tuesday.
"It’s an admirable thought but it is also a long time after the event. Shaheen Shah Afridi couldn’t have bowled on one leg even though he’s got the biggest heart in the team!" he said.
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