'I was poisoned at the peak of my career. Shahid Afridi paid 40-50 lakh...': Ex-Pakistan cricketer's shocker

Mar 23, 2023 05:39 PM IST

One humongous story has been narrated by former Pakistan opener Imran Nazir, who claims that he was poisoned at the peak of his career.

Revelations in Pakistan cricket are a thing of unreal surprise. Just when you think you've seen it all, a fresh story emerges that promises to rock you to your core. Be it Ramiz Raja's unceremonious exit as PCB chief, or some random woman accusing Babar Azam of sexual abuse… Pakistan cricket has seen it all. Similarly, one such humongous story has been narrated by former Pakistan opener Imran Nazir, who claims that he was poisoned at the peak of his career. Nazir, who had played 8 Tests and 79 ODIs for Pakistan between 1999 and 2012, spread over many comebacks, had first disclosed about the illness last May, but these chilling details promise to send a shiver down your spine.

Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi. (Getty)
Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi. (Getty)

"When I recently got treated, including MRI and all, a statement was issued that I was given poison - Mercury. It is a slow poison; it reaches your joint and damages them. For 8-10 years, all my joints were treated. All my joints had gotten damaged and for this reason, I suffered for almost 6-7 years. But even then, I prayed to God, 'Please don't make me bedridden'. And thankfully, that never happened," Nazir said on the Nadir Ali podcast.

"I used to walk around and all when people used to ask 'You're looking fine'. I doubted a lot of people but when and what did I eat, I cannot figure out. Because the poison doesn't react instantly. It kills you for years. I still never wished bad for whoever did this. The person saving is better than the one who wants to kill."

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Nazir, an explosive batter who gave India a real scare in the final of the 2007 T20 World Cup, revealed that the treatment to get him back on his feet required many years and that in the process, he exhausted all his life's savings – an estimate of PKR 12-15 crore. Nazir said that during his tough time, Shahid Afridi stood besides him like a rock and that he would remain indebted to the former Pakistan captain for a gesture that saved Imran's life.

"I have spent my entire life's saving on my treatment. In the end, there was a final treatment, in which Shahid Afridi helped me a lot. He helped me in my time of need. I had nothing left when I met Shahid bhai. Within a day, my doctor received the money in his account. He said 'No matter how much money is needed, my brother should get well'. He spent around 40-50 lakh. I was happy that he had told his manager 'Don't even ask about him. Keep sending how much money he needs'. The credit even goes to my doctor that he never tried to cheat me. He stuck to the amount that was required," added the former Pakistan opener.

The last Nazir played cricket in any form was in 2018, in the T10 League representing the Kerala Knights where the likes of Chris Gayle, Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow were his teammates.

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