Shoaib Akhtar threw some light on the incident from 2010 when he had threatened to beat Harbhajan Singh, saying he had gone to look for the India spinner in his hotel room but that he was nowhere to be found.
“I went looking for Harbhajan Singh in the hotel room to fight with him. He eats with us, roams around with us in Lahore, culture is similar to us, he is a Punjabi brother and yet he will misbehave with us? I thought I will go and fight with him in the hotel room. He knew that Shoaib was coming. But I couldn’t find him. I calmed down the next day and he had also apologised,” said Shoaib Akhtar in a video interview on Helo app.
Harbhajan had previously spoken about this incident, saying he had many run-ins with the former Pakistan fast bowler, but that they remained good friends off the field.
“Shoaib once threatened me he would come to my room and beat me. I told him ‘come, let’s see who beats whom.’ I was really scared. He is a great hulk. He once bashed me and Yuvi (Yuvraj Singh) inside a room. Since he was heavy, it was difficult to catch him,” Harbhajan had said.
The incident referred to happened in the 2010 Asia Cup in Sri Lanka, when Harbhajan made aggressive gestures to Akhtar after winning the match for India with a six in the last over.
Harbhajan and Akhtar had previously been engaged in a duel in the 47th over of the match, in which over also Harbhajan had hit a six. Akhtar had replied by digging in bouncers into his body and the two had exchanged some words.
The last laugh in the match was had by Harbhajan, courtesy his 11-ball 15, as India won by three wickets. However, as revealed by the two players, the individual duel between Harbhajan and Akhtar carried on after the match ended as well.
Recently, Suresh Raina, who was Harbhajan’s batting partner when the altercation took place, recalled the incident in an Instagram live session with former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan. “Bhajju paa was a fighter. I remember he had some argument with Shoaib Akhtar but then hit a six to win the match for us,” Raina had said.