Akhtar, speaking in the BBC’s Doosra Podcast, was speaking about his relationship with other players, how he shows affection, when he narrated the story about wrestling with India stars Yuvraj and Harbhajan Singh, going on to throw Yuvraj and break his back.
He went on to reveal he had broken teammate Shahid Afridi’s ribs in a similar display of fondness as well as cause Abdul Razzaq hamstring concerns, and said his way of “loving people is a bit wild”.
“I don’t wrestle, it’s my way of showing my affection to other people, and I basically crossed the line,” said Akhtar. “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.”
Shoaib Akhtar: “Sarfaraz must have led Pakistan in the same way as he carried shoes. That’s why Mickey Arthur always dominated him.”https://t.co/0tG2akeC3O
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) August 7, 2020
For all that, Akhtar wasn’t the most social cricketer off the field, and revealed he used to stay away from team-mates at times. “I got into a fight once or twice in my career, but I enjoyed a great relationship with my team,” he said. “Maybe not the Pakistan Cricket Board, but with my team-mates I had a great time.
“Although I enjoyed playing cricket with my team-mates, I never enjoyed hanging out with them afterwards. I was basically a lone ranger.”
Akhtar, nicknamed the Rawalpindi Express for his famously fast bowling – he was the first to break the 100mph pace barrier – retired in 2011 after taking 444 international wickets for Pakistan.