Went to Harbhajan’s room to fight after match: Shoaib Akhtar on altercation during India vs Pakistan match in Asia Cup 2010
Harbhajan Singh roared, both arms in the air, he screamed some more followed by a tight hug to non-striker Praveen Kumar. The reason for the jubilation was his monstrous six off Mohammad Amir when India needed 3 runs to win off 2 balls. But the roars were directed towards Shoaib Akhtar, with whom he had an altercation in the previous over, which continued even till the middle of the last over.
Reacting to the incident that took place 10 years ago in an India vs Pakistan Asia Cup match in March 2010 at Dambulla, Sri Lanka, former Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar said he was furious with Harbhajan and had gone to the hotel to pick up a fight with the India off-spinner after the match.
“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.
It had all started when Harbhajan had deposited an Akhtar delivery over long-on for a huge six in the 47th over. Upset by the six, the Rawalpindi Express dished out a couple of bouncers directed towards Harbhajan’s rib-cage and also exchanged a few words. The India off-spinner was not the one back away and the verbal altercation continued between the two till the last over of the game.
Harbhajan, however, had the last laugh as he guided India to a 3-wicket win with a crucial 11-ball 15-run inning.
Harbhajan, in the past, had revealed that Akhtar indeed threatened to come to his hotel room for a fight.
“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 said.
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.
That incident has had no effect on the bond between the two great cricketers. Harbhajan and Shoaib have remained one of the best of friends off the field. The duo has made many TV appearances after that and Harbhajan was also invited to Shoaib Akhtar’s Youtube channel last year.