Ball tampering and infidelity are not even remotely connected but Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi feels if golf superstar Tiger Woods can apologise and move on after his numerous affairs, he too should be forgiven for his "stupid" ball-biting antics during a match.
Afridi hit out at critics calling for his head over the ball tampering incident in the fifth and final One-Day International against Australia earlier this month in Perth.
"Look at golf super star Tiger Woods. He made a mistake and he apologised to his followers and chapter may shortly be closed," he remarked.
Afridi, who returned from Dubai on Monday, said he was deeply hurt and disappointed by the "smear campaign" launched against him.
"I think the ball tampering incident was blown out of proportion by some quarters who wanted to damage my reputation and hurt my career," Afridi said.
"There is no doubt I committed a big mistake by trying to gnaw into the ball during the match but the fact also is that I accepted my mistake and the match referee banned me for two matches." "The way I look at it once the ICC match official had taken action against me the matter should have been closed but yet some quarters have tried to make it look as if I have committed a big crime and brought shame on my country. I have said before others have also made similar mistakes in the past and even got away with it," Afridi said.
The all-rounder, who is set to get back the Twenty20 captaincy for the World Cup, said his mistake was a result of sheer frustration during the tour in which Pakistan were whitewashed in all three formats of the game.
"I don't know what came over me it was a stupid thing to do, but the bottom line is I have been officially punished for the mistake," he said.
"I did a wrong thing in deep frustration for the country. More controversial incidents have taken place in the past on and off the cricket field but with time they die down or go unnoticed but I think now the media is much stronger then it was in the past," he regretted.