Former Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, known for his blistering deliveries on the cricket field, recently baffled many with a deadly off-field bouncer by claiming he is willing to eat grass if it enabled an increase in budget for his country's army!
"If Allah ever gives me the authority, I will eat grass myself but I will increase the budget of the army," said Akhtar in an interview with ARY News.
The 'Rawalpindi Express', considered the fastest bowler in history said he does not understand why the civilian sector cannot work in collaboration with the Armed forces.
"I will ask my army chief to sit with me and make decisions. If the budget is 20 per cent, I will make it 60 per cent. If we insult each other, the loss is ours only," the once feared fast-bowler said.
Akthar had also claimed in the interview that he was willing to take a bullet for his country and had turned down a county stint just because he wanted to fight the 1999 Kargil War.
Ties between India and Pakistan have been strained in the recent months over several issues, the latest being Pakistan's attempt to broach in the UNSC the issue of Kashmir on the first anniversary of the India's move to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and to split the erstwhile state into two union territories.
Pakistan also has not been in a good financial position and under Prime Minister Imran Khan, himself an all-rounder cricketer, has added nearly $US22 billion, that is 35 per cent to the nation's international debt pile in the last two years, according to an Asia Times report in July.
While Pakistan recently received $US1.39 billion from the IMF to cushion the economic shocks caused due to COVID-19 outbreak, Akthar had a few months ago proposed that a joint cricket match be played between India and Pakistan to raise funds to fight the coronavirus. The suggestion that was put down by cricketers in India.
Meanwhile the 'Pindi boy' whose deadly pace and bounce was once dreaded by batsmen had recently taken to Twitter to deny former India cricketer Virender Sehwag's claim of sledging him.
Sehwag along with other Indian cricketers such as Harbhajan Singh and even Rahul Dravid had been at the receiving end of Akthar's sledging and antics during their playing days.
"Yes, totally self-made story by him. ‘Mujhe yeh bol k bach k jana kidhar tha us nay,’ Akthar tweeted to a report in which Sehwag claimed that he had sledged the 'Rawalpindi Express' by telling him that Sachin Tendulkar was his father.
During an awards ceremony Sehwag had recounted that fed up with Akthar's sledging and retaliated by telling him to say the same things to Tendulkar, who smashed the bowler for a six. Sehwag quipped that he told Akthar then that ‘Baap baap hota hai’.
In the recent interview to ARY, asked about the allegation made against him by Sehwag that he makes pro-India comments for greater following on social media channels, Akhtar said, "I cannot talk on the basis of hate."