Pakistan Television (PTV) anchorperson Dr Nauman Niaz has offered an apology for his televised clash with ex-cricketer Shoaib Akhtar, as a result of which the latter quit the state broadcaster.
“The repercussions of my on-air outburst are totally fair. To err is human, that should not have happened and for that I can apologise not only once but a million times. I know I hurt the sentiments of a lot of people and that includes Shoaib Akhtar, who has been a rollicking star[…] regardless of the fact that it was his mistake or not,” said Niaz on the Youtube channel of journalist Rauf Klasra.
Dr Niaz went on to offer a detailed explanation of what he had been thinking and how his outburst on air came to be. He claimed that Akhtar had wanted a salary increase. Furthermore, Dr Niaz also claimed that the former fast bowler had committed violations of his contract with PTV. These include appearing on a show with Harbhajan Singh in contravention of the embargo by the ministry of commerce on broadcasters doing business with Indian outlets. Dr Niaz also claimed that there had been instances where Akhtar had told the PTV that he could not appear on a particular broadcast, but would be appearing on other shows at the same time.
According to Dr Niaz,
“I wasn’t angry at Shoaib but it demeaned Pakistan television because we were selling him as part of our great team. This showed that PTV was being taken for granted, despite the fact that we were offering him a package which was better than everyone else in the sports production.”
He explained his eventual outburst at Akhtar after the Pakistan-New Zealand match as follows:
“These things were building up and what happened was that in my subliminal mind all this was packed. In my cognitive mind, this led to a minor abrasion and overlapping and so this incident happened. It was inexcusable, unwarranted, unwanted, unplanned and I don’t want to disrespect anyone. I’m ready to apologise in front of the whole nation for that inexcusable act as I consider it my duty and obligation.”
Earlier, PTV had announced that it was taking both Dr Nauman Niaz and Shoaib Akhtar off air until it completed its inquiry into their televised spat. The clash occurred when Akhtar and Niaz were part of a panel discussing the Pakistan-New Zealand T20 World Cup match which Pakistan won by five wickets. While speaking of the Pakistan squad, Akhtar mentioned the Lahore Qalanders having discovered Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf. On this, Dr Niaz said, “You are being a little rude, so I don’t want to say this, but if you’re being over-smart then you can go. I am saying this on air.”
Shoaib Akhtar had been so offended by his exchange with Dr Niaz that after a commercial break he got up, announced that he was resigning from PTV Sports due to how he had been spoken to, removed his mic and left the broadcast. A clip of the incident went viral on social media.