Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar is still popular among the cricket-loving masses across the subcontinent. The Rawalpindi Express keeps on sharing his cricket memories on social media and through his Youtube videos. In the latest interview, on BBC’s Doosra podcast, Akhtar has reflected on his relationship with Indian players Harbhajan Singh and Yuvraj Singh.
Recalling an incident where he once wrestled with the Indian cricketers, Akhtar said, “I don’t wrestle, it’s my way of showing my affection to other people and I basically crossed the line. When I like someone, I throw them.”
“I broke Yuvraj’s back, have previously broken Shahid Afridi’s rib by hugging him, and I made Abdul Razzaq stretch his hamstring a bit too much. So my way of loving people is a bit wild. It was just me being stupid in my younger days but I never realised my own power,” he said.
Previously, Akhtar had said during a television interview, “We were horsing around and doing some arm wrestling and that was all but Bhajji and Yuvi are my younger brother and there is no question of beating them up.”
Going further, Akhtar also admitted to getting into fights with teammates and said,”I got into a fight once or twice in my career but I enjoyed a great relationship with my team. Maybe not the Pakistan Cricket Board, but with my team-mates I had a great time.”
During the audio interview, the former fast bowler also shared his story of becoming the fastest bowler in the 2003 World Cup. He bowled a 100 mph speed delivery against England in Cape Town when Nick Knight was on strike.
Recalling the moment, the 44-year-old said,” Breaking the 100 mph barrier wasn’t a big deal to me. It was just media hype, an international cricket gimmick. I wasn’t getting paid for this – to break my bones trying to bowl that fast. I just thought ‘For heaven’s sake, I need to finish this and just do it.’ So I planned it all out, I started training for it.”
Speaking further, he said that he ran with 170 kg weights on his back and took 20 kg off after every 100 sprints. “I also used to bowl from 26 yards with something much heavier than a cricket ball. When I came back to the 22 yards, I was about 6km/h (3.7mph) quicker,” he said.