Cricket legend Shoaib Akhtar. — File photo

Cricket legend Shoaib Akhtar said Thursday he had forgiven show host Dr Nauman Niaz for the sake of the country and state institutions after they had a row on national television.

Speaking on Geo News programme Jashn-e-Cricket, Akhtar said he kept waiting for the show host to apologise, but he did not, compelling him to leave the show.

Following an on-air spat between Akhtar and PTV Sports anchorperson Niaz, the state broadcaster had decided to take both personalities off-air.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had also taken notice of the incident, with Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad saying that the premier had called for immediate action.

Meanwhile, Akhtar said he had sat down for a brief period before leaving the show as West Indies great Sir Vivian Richards had asked him to.

“I did all this so that other stars won’t have to suffer the same fate […] I don’t hate anybody,” he said.

After PTV had announced it will not be taking him or Niaz on-air until the inquiry into their spat is not concluded, the former Pakistan fast bowler had lashed out at the state broadcaster.

Akhtar took to Twitter to say that the state-run channel’s decision seems “hilarious”.

“Well, that’s hilarious. I resigned in front of 220 million Pakistanis & billions across the world. Is PTV crazy or what? Who are they to off-air me?” he asked.

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Speaking further on the show, the former pacer said Pakistan had helped all cricketing nations, and that when Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) gets an investment, it would witness a boost.

On India’s match against Scotland, which is slated for today (Friday), the former fast bowler said the Men In Blue would beat the opposition by a huge margin, as they cling on to their chances of qualifying for the T20 World Cup semi-finals.

Showering praise on the Afghan cricket team — who have been playing well in the tournament, except for their India setback — Akhtar said skipper Mohammad Nabi and talisman Rashid Khan had pitched in money to fund their national team.

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