I was accused of rape during Australia tour, reveals Shoaib Akhtar
With Cynthia D. Richie levelling serious allegations of rape and molestation against Pakistan People’s Party leadership, Pakistan’s speedster Shoaib Akhtar has revealed how he was wrongly accused of rape during Pakistan's tour of Australia in 2005.
In a shocking revelation, Akhtar, who is regarded as one of the finest fast bowlers to have graced the game of cricket, opened about the incident during a recent live interaction on Helo app.
Akhtar's international career was marred with a number of controversies with the former pacer garnering headlines for all the wrong reasons on several occasions. However, his latest revelations might come as a shock to many.
Akhtar, who holds the record for bowling the fastest delivery in international cricket, played 46 Tests, 163 ODIs and 15 T20Is in his career, picking up 444 international wickets across formats.
Akhtar recalled the 2005 tour of Australia when he urged the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to issue a clarification after a teammate's 'misunderstanding' with a woman led to him getting accused of molestation.
Akhtar admitted he was suspected by everyone with media reports also doing rounds. He asked the board to not reveal the player's name but clarify the wrong allegations levelled against him. "I was accused of rape then. There was some other boy from the Pakistan team, who had a misunderstanding with a girl. Pakistan team management hid the boy's doing," said Akhtar. "I asked the board to not reveal the boy's name, just announce that Shoaib was not there. When that case happened, everyone suspected me," he added.
Akhtar was called back home from the tour of Australia which added fuel to fire. However, PCB was quick to rubbish the media reports claiming Akhtar was guilty and clarified that the former pacer was called back to achieve full fitness ahead of Pakistan's tour of India.
"The PCB wishes to clarify that the decision to recall him [Akhtar] was taken in order for him to achieve full fitness in readiness for the India tour. His recall has no connection whatsoever with the uncorroborated and sensationalist reports relating to an incident in Melbourne," PCB stated in a release.
The incident reportedly took place in a hotel in Melbourne where the Pakistan team was staying. No enquiry was conducted in the matter by the PCB as no formal complaint was registered against any Pakistani player.