Shoaib Akhtar (left) and Dr Nauman Niaz.
Shoaib Akhtar (left) and Dr Nauman Niaz. 

Former fast bowler Sikander Bakht has lashed out at PTV Sports anchor Dr Nauman Niaz for his verbal spat with Shoaib Akhtar during a live transmission of the state-run TV channel a day earlier. 

“I stand with Shoaib Akhtar, he is a Test cricketer,” said Bakht, speaking at Geo Pakistan. “Dr Nauman is no one, he is a nobody. He’s just an anchor,” he added. 

Bakht lashed out at the “Game on Hai” host, saying that he has “only read a few books” to become an anchor on the state-run TV channel. 

“We regularly receive complaints from the people who work there [PTV Sports] that he’s rude to everyone,” he said. “He [Dr Nauman] thinks he gives jobs to everyone.”

Sikander Bakht went on to say that he was surprised Shoaib Akhtar “did not beat up” the anchor, at which point he was interrupted by Geo Pakistan host Abdullah Sultan, who said: “We can’t say that on national TV.”

“Yeah, I know,” responded Bakht. “But Nauman Niaz should keep in mind that Test cricketers are Test cricketers. He insulted him,” he lashed out. 

Bakht said that thousands of anchors come and go but since the dawn of Pakistan cricket’s era, only 300 plus cricketers can be classified as Test cricketers. 

He called on Dr Nauman Niaz to apologise to the former Pakistan speedster, saying that the Rawalpindi Express had not said anything objectionable. 

“So what if he took Shaheen Afridi’s name? What was the problem? We do programs every day, we can detect when a cricketer provides wrong information but we stay quiet because we honour him as our guest,” he added. 

Former Pakistan cricketer Marina Iqbal said whatever happened was unfortunate, adding that it is not the right way to treat stars on national TV. 

“It doesn’t give a good image, abroad and even in front of the stars that were present there,” she said, adding that “there is a way to deal with guests apart from whatever happened or whatever the reason was.”

She said even the masses should avoid criticising cricketers in public and on national TV whenever Pakistan loses a match. 

Shoaib Akhtar resigns during live transmission after verbal spat with Dr Nauman Niaz

The entire controversy began when Shoaib Akhtar and Nauman Niaz were embroiled in a spat during the PTV Sports show “Game on Hai”. 

The two were discussing Pakistan’s victory over New Zealand yesterday when tensions between Dr Nauman Niaz, host of the show, and Shoaib Akhtar, one of the many decorated panellists on the show, escalated. 

As Shoaib Akhtar was going through some cricket trivia — during which he credited the Pakistan Super League’s Lahore Qalandars team for discovering Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf — the show’s host, Nauman Niaz, seemed to take offence and snapped back at Shoaib.

“You’re being a little rude and I don’t want to say this: but if you’re being over smart, you can go. I am saying this on-air,” Niaz told a dumbstruck Shoaib, cutting him short and moving to the next guest for their comment.

It wasn’t clear what rubbed Niaz the wrong way, and it seemed Shoaib himself was caught off guard.

As tensions rose, the show went off-air for a commercial break. After it resumed, the discussion revolved around cricket once again but Shoaib Akhtar was visibly disturbed. 

A few moments later, he unclipped his mic and walked off the show, announcing his resignation during the live transmission. 

“A lot of apologies guys, a lot of apologies. I am resigning from PTV. The way I have been treated on national TV, I don’t think I should be sitting here right now. So, I am resigning. Thank you very much,” he said, and left.  


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