Cricket-Pakistan's Akhtar accuses Afridi of instigating spat

KARACHI, Sept 8 Sat Sep 8, 2007 5:22pm BST

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KARACHI, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar blamed Shahid Afridi for a spat which led him to hit Mohammad Asif with a bat in the build-up to the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa.

Akhtar was sent home following the incident and told a news conference on Saturday that he would lodge an official complaint against Afridi with the Pakistan Cricket Board.

The 32-year-old said he lost his temper during a nets session on Thursday after Afridi made an offensive remark about his family.

"Afridi was responsible for the fight. He made some ill remarks about my family. And I could not tolerate them," said Akhtar, who had struck Asif on the thigh with a bat during a heated argument.

"I never hit Asif intentionally. It just happened accidentally. In my 10 years with the team I have never fought like this with anyone. But Afridi's remarks provoked me."

Akhtar said he was devastated at having to return home.

"This incident has shattered me. I have been painted as a villain by the media. I just wanted to clear the facts of the incident today," he added.

Afridi told Geo TV from Johannesburg that he was shocked at the accusations made against him by Akhtar.

"He has always been like an elder brother to me. I don't know why he is lying but I know if I had not stepped in Asif could have suffered more injuries," he said.

Asif suffered a bruised thigh following the incident.

The Pakistan board has placed an indefinite ban on Akhtar and a disciplinary hearing is to be held after the team returns from South Africa.

The Twenty20 tournament begins on Tuesday.

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