Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer has denied calling fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar a blacky during the second Test against South Africa, and threatened to sue Pakistani daily Dawn for false reporting.
He said that such false reports lead the team to losing focus on the forthcoming World Cup in West Indies.
Quoting unnamed sources, the daily had on Friday reported that Woolmer had called Shoaib a blacky during a heated debate with the fast bowler in the second Test against South Africa at Port Elizabeth.
Shoaib took 4-36 on the first day of the Test but was unable to continue after tearing a hamstring muscle, an injury that provoked a verbal confrontation between him and Woolmer.
Subsequently, Shoaib was fined 2500 dollars for misbehaving with the coach and was sent back home.
The paper quoted the Pakistani coach as saying in an email to a foreign news agency as saying: "I deny calling Shoaib anything or what is attributed in the newspaper. "I would never do so as a coach and I have already spoken to my solicitors regarding suing the paper. Such stories aim at distracting our focus for the World Cup."
In the past Woolmer has had an uneasy relationship with the paceman since he took over as coach in July 2004.