Pakistan's controversial fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar appeared to have slipped into deeper trouble with teammate Mohammad Asif rejecting his version of the story that he 'accidentally' hit Asif on his left thigh after Shahid Afridi had provoked the row between the two pace bowlers. <b1>
"Shahid Afridi had nothing to do with the fight. The fact is that Shoaib did strike me with the bat over a little issue and got enraged for no valid reason.
"And he has not apologised to me. In fact he should apologise first to the entire nation for what he has done," Asif was quoted as saying by two leading Urdu newspapers.
Asif disclosed what actually had caused the row in Centurion Park last week. "Shahid was trying to make Shoaib understand that he needs to change his attitude towards junior players and communicate more with them. He told Shoaib that juniors were wary of him.
"At this point I also came out of the washroom and Shahid asked to me to tell Shoaib what the junior players feel about him. I just smiled and he then hit me with the bat. It was Shahid who intervened and separated us," Asif said.
Shoaib had apologised for his conduct and is under an indefinite ban until a disciplinary hearing is completed over the issue.
Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board Nasim Ashraf has reiterated that initial inquiry by the team management had shown that Shoaib was at fault. "That is why after preliminary investigations, the tour committee took the extreme measure of sending him back home immediately," Ashraf said.