Pakistan legend Shoaib Akhtar defended Indian cricketers Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh who faced a backlash from social medial trolls for endorsing Shahid Afridi's charity foundation.
"It was inhuman to criticise them. It is not about countries or religion at the moment, it is about humanity," Akhtar told PTI.
Yuvraj and Harbhajan, two of India's most celebrated cricketers and World Cup winners, were declared 'anti-national' by the troll army, who found it objectionable to support the humanitarian cause by a fellow cricketer from Pakistan.
Yuvraj and Harbhajan were trolled for asking their social media followers to donate to Afridi's charity foundation which is doing its bit in Pakistan's fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Yuvraj was forced to clarify his stand, saying he never intended to hurt anyone and his call for help has been "blown out of proportion".
"I really don't understand how a message to help the most vulnerable gets blown out of proportion! All I tried to achieve via that message was that to help people in our respective countries by providing healthcare, my intention was not to hurt anyone's feelings," Yuvraj tweeted on Wednesday.
"I am an Indian and I will always bleed blue and will always stand for humanity. Jai hind," he added.
Akhtar, who spent a lot of time in India as a commentator, recalled his days in Mumbai during the World T20 in 2016, the last time he came to India for work.
"I am forever grateful about the love I have received from the people of India. For the first time I am revealing this, whatever I used to earn from India, I made a significant amount there, thirty percent of it, I used to distribute among the low-income staff who used to work with me in the TV," he remembered.
He used to visit the city's slum areas with his face covered to hand out financial help to elder women there.
"From drivers, runners to my security guys. I took care of a lot of people. I was like if am earning from this country, I have to help my colleagues also.
"I also remember visiting slums of Dharavi and Sion in the wee hours to meet people I worked with," added Akhtar.
In the wake of the global crisis caused due to COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed close to 90,000 lives and infected around 1.5 million people at the time of filing the report, Akhtar urged the two neighbours -- India and Pakistan -- to come together and support each other.
And to start, he proposed the two arch-rivals to play a cricket series to help raise funds.
"In this time of crisis, I want to propose a three-match series in which for the first time, the people of neither country would be upset at the outcome of the games," he said.
The two nations have not played a full-series since 2007 due to the terrorist attacks on India by Pakistan-based outfits and the resultant diplomatic tension. They only play each other in ICC events and Asia Cup.
"If Virat (Kohli) scores a hundred, we will be happy, if Babar Azam scores a hundred, you will be happy. Both teams will be winners irrespective of whatever happens on the field," he added.
The former fast bowler also sought India's help in procuring ventilators for Pakistan.
"If India can make 10,000 ventilators for us, Pakistan will remember this gesture forever. But we can only propose the matches. The rest is up to the authorities (to decide)," Akhtar said.