Bob Woolmer, the Pakistan coach, has angrily denied reports that he racially insulted Shoaib Akhtar during the infamous heated altercation that took place between the two - and was broadcast to TV viewers - during Pakistan's second Test victory at Port Elizabeth against South Africa recently.
Woolmer, responding to a report in a Karachi-based daily, Dawn, which alleged that he had called Shoaib 'blacky' during the argument, told Cricinfo, "I did not say any such thing to him. I have never and never will abuse any one racially as it is completely against my nature. There reports are absolutely rubbish."
It might not be the end of the matter as Woolmer has said that he will consult his lawyers and consider legal action against the newspaper. The sports editor of the paper confirmed to Cricinfo that they are willing to stand by the article.
The story also claims, quoting undisclosed sources close to Shoaib, that the troubled fast bowler is seeking an apology from Inzamam-ul-Haq and Woolmer "after being reportedly abused by them during his brief stay on the ill-fated tour of South Africa."
In case the apology isn't forthcoming, Shoaib has threatened to take both to court, according to the report, for their 'insulting behaviour' during the Test and adds that the bowler is willing to pull out of Pakistan's squad for the World Cup. Shoaib is currently in London, where he is seeking medical advice on a knee injury that jeopardizes his participation in the tournament which begins next month in the West Indies.
For Cricinfo's report on the incident, which occurred on the second morning of the second Test, please click here.
Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo