Shoaib Akhtar threatens to sue ESPN-Star

Published: Wednesday, October 26, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Lahore:Pakistani pace bowler Shoaib Akhtar has threatened to sue international satellite broadcasters ESPN-Star India unless they apologise for "derogatory remarks" made on a sports show.

"I am hurt over the derogatory remarks made on the Sportscentre programme on ESPN-Star India on Monday night and want a big-time apology or else I will sue them in an Indian court," Akhtar told AFP on Tuesday.

In a piece on Akhtar being two days late for a Pakistan team training camp in Lahore, the programme said "a dog's tail will never straighten" in reference to the bowler's questionable fitness record and commitment.

The ESPN STAR Sports is a joint venture between two of the world's leading cable and satellite broadcasters, ESPN Inc. and STAR. Until last year it was the official broadcaster of international cricket played in India.

Akhtar said the channel, which is also seen in Pakistan, insulted Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq in another recent programme.

"A few days back they said insulting remarks about our captain Inzamam-ul Haq and that's unbearable," he said.

"What they said about me is tantamount to defamation and I've received numerous calls from Pakistan and India, and others thought it was disgusting too," said Akhtar.

The 30-year-old faces a crucial fitness test in Pakistan's ongoing tune-up camp ahead of next month's home series against England.

Akhtar, one of the fastest bowlers in the history of the game, has a long injury record and missed Pakistan's away series in India and the West Indies earlier this year due to fitness problems.

He was last week lambasted by Worcestershire county chairman John Elliott, who said he was difficult to handle during his stint at the county this year.

But he remains a match-winner for Pakistan, with 144 wickets in 36 Tests.

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