Harbhajan's claim of being 'beaten up' a joke: Akhtar

Islamabad: Former Pakistan tearaway pacer Shoaib Akhtar on Tuesday turned down Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh's claims that he beat Singh and star batsman Yuvraj Singh, terming it a "joke". Reacting to Harbhajan's claims, the 40-year-old said the Indian offie "exaggerated" the whole episode, which he claimed was just an incident of arm-wrestling. "I am friends with both Harbhajan and Yuvraj and whatever happened in Islamabad hotel room was a joke," Akhtar was quoted as saying by Geo news. "Harbhajan exaggerated the whole story as despite being an aggressive player, it is not in my nature to beat my juniors. It was an incident of arm-wrestling." Earlier, Harbhajan said in an interview, that Akhtar pummeled him along with Yuvraj during their tour to the neighbouring country in 2004. "Shoaib once threatened me that he’d barge into my room to hit me. I told him ‘we will see who hits who’. Nonetheless, I was scared because of his bulky physique," the 36-year-old told a TV channel. "Once, he hit Yuvraj and me. Because of his heavy build, it was difficult to overpower him," he added.