AUS vs IND: Harbhajan Singh was renowned for his ability to confound the best in the game with his ‘Doosra. But he was also involved in several disputes away from the field. The ‘Monkeygate’ event between him and Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds is one of the most talked-about moments in cricket.
It was during the second Test match between Australia and India when the incident occurred. It took place at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). The match is remembered for the umpiring errors made by Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson.
The contest is also remembered for the infamous incident in which Harbhajan was forced to bear the brunt of the blame. Recently, the veteran offie has spoken out about what had transpired. Also, how it had impacted him at the time of the incident.
Even though he was unnecessarily condemned for something that he had not done in the first place, Harbhajan Singh said that no one had cared to investigate the racial prejudice that he had experienced on the ground.
“I was perplexed and puzzled as to why everything was taking place. Why is something that never occurred in the first place being exaggerated to such an extreme degree? For an incident that I had never performed, there were around 6-7 witnesses.
Everyone thought they heard something, but it wasn’t heard, so they made a big deal out of nothing. Whatever was being said to me on the ground, “You have testicles on your head,” was “a difficult thing for me to hear. My religion being insulted was a difficult thing for me to hear,” Harbhajan said in an interview with sports journalist Boria Majumdar on the Backstage With Boria podcast.
AUS vs IND: Harbhajan Singh expresses gratitude to his teammates for their support
At the same time, the two-time World Cup champion said that he had had complete support from his teammates. That he had not discussed the situation with them because he was certain that they would support him.
“I was the only one who knew how I used to spend my time in my room during that trying period. As a result, I never considered speaking with the players or the coaching staff. They were already in my presence.
They were supportive during the whole episode. My stress level had already beyond a certain threshold. I did not want to put anybody else through further stress. In the end, I had to cope with it in the best manner possible. I am grateful that I was able to do so and that I was able to go to Australia to represent Team India and win a couple of games,” Harbhajan Singh stated.
The Australians lodged a formal complaint with the umpire after Harbhajan Singh was accused of calling Symonds “Monkey”. There was an investigation after the conclusion of the game. The decision was made against the off-spinner following the International Cricket Council’s Code of Conduct.
The off-spinner was given a three-match suspension following the investigation. Although the suspension was first upheld, it was subsequently reversed when India opted to boycott the trip. Despite this, the Punjab cricketer was penalized 50% of his match money for his participation.