He takes the judges podium with former Indian spin bowler Harbhajan Singh
He takes the judges podium with former Indian spin bowler Harbhajan Singh

After facing off on the field, cricketers Shoaib Akhtar and Harbhajan Singh are going to judge a comedy show together.

But the former Pakistani fast bowler insists that this is not a big leap from the game.

"I've had my share of fun in the dressing room with a-joke-a-minute contemporaries like Mohammad Yousuf and Shoaib Malik and seniors like Wasim Akram and Inzamam-ul-Haq. My namesake takes mimicry to another level. There was so much banter and harmless leg-pulling that my jaws would ache. Among the Indian cricketers Ashish Nehra and Yuvraj Singh are a riot, as also Virender Sehwag," he said in an interview with Mumbai Mirror.

"Now I will be paid to enjoy the jokes, I don't think there can be a better job," he quipped.

One thing's different from his cricketing days, though: Harbhajan and him are now playing on the same side. This, despite Harbhajan still seeming to hold a grudge about an arm-wrestling bout gone wild.

"Now we will be on the same team and I'm looking forward to that. I hope we can do justice to the job," said Akhtar.

What kind of jokes does Akhtar hope to hear?

"For me humour is something you can take home and laugh out loud reminiscing about a joke or a funny incident when recalling it alone," he explained, saying he doesn't like comedians crossing the line of decency. "I like Akshay Kumar, Javed Jaffery and our own Omar Sharif who are extremely talented. And I've really enjoyed Andaz Apna Apna, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron and all Amitabh Bachchan comedies."

Does he fancy himself as an actor in the near future? "It is good to see my fellow countrymen doing Pakistan proud in the Indian film industry. They help spread the message of peace and harmony. As far as I am concerned my priority is my family and my work at the moment. Besides, I don't plan for the future, I take things as they come," he shrugs.

The show, titled Indian Mazak League, will air on Life OK.