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While the former Pakistan fast-bowler Shoaib Akhtar played international cricket for a long time (1997-2011), he faced many controversies. Recently, he opened up one of those negative stories, where he was wrongly accused of ‘rape’ due to the involvement of one of his teammates.
It was the time when Pakistan toured in Australia in 2004/05 summer. During that tour, where Pakistan played the three-match Test series and the ODI triangular series (2004/05 VB series – Australia, Pakistan and West Indies), a woman reported a sexual assault. According to the then media reports, that incident happened during Pakistan players’ stay in Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test.
Though there was no formal police complaint, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) investigated on that matter.
When that case happened, everyone suspected me: Shoaib Akhtar
Recently, talking about this, Shoaib Akhtar recalled that he was mistakenly accused of that incident while some other Pakistan player was involved in a misunderstanding with a girl. While Akhtar suggested to the board to not reveal the name of that Pakistan player, he also requested to clarify his non-involvement in that incident.
Recently, Akhtar claimed on a Helo Live chat, “I was accused of rape back then. There was some other player from the Pakistan team, who had a misunderstanding with a girl. Pakistan team management hid that player’s doing. I asked the board not to reveal the player’s name, just announce that Shoaib was not there. When that case happened, everyone suspected me.”
Later, the PCB cleared Akhtar from that charge. The PCB also clarified that their investigation didn’t find any evidence of any such incidents and claimed that it was the cheap publicity from some of the international channels to demean Pakistan cricket.
In that controversial Australia tour, Pakistan lost the three-match Test series by the 3-0 margin but finished as the runners-up in the ODI tri-series. Akhtar took 11 wickets in the three Tests of that tour, but he didn’t manage to pick up any wicket in the ODI tri-series, where the fast bowler played two matches.
Shoaib Akhtar played 46 Tests, 163 ODIs and 15 T20Is, where he pocketed 178, 247 and 19 wickets respectively. Though he faced many controversies during his cricket career, those couldn’t put any negative effect on his lethal fast bowling skills.