Former India captain Anil Kumble recalled a bad chapter in the national team history and felt that his side was wronged during the infamous monkey gate scandal. Harbhajan Singh faced a tough time after the monkey gate scandal. The situation unfolded when veteran India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was charged for racially abusing Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds in the second Test in 2008 at Sydney.
The incident saw a fallout between Symonds and Harbhajan with bitterness being created between both the sides. Even after years the memories of the infamous scandal are fresh in the minds of cricket fans. It unfolded after Harbhajan Singh and Sachin Tendulkar were involved in a eighth-wicket stand that was frustrating Australia. Symonds went close to Harbhajan and muttered some words. The Australian were convinced that the spinner had called him ‘monkey’ but Harbhajan denied the claims.
Kumble said that he was is dilemma because as a captain the decisions need to be taken on the field but here a decision prevailed off it. He also said that Harbhajan Singh was banned and they had to build a new team altogether which came as a challenge. Kumble, however, said that Indian team was wronged thus they came back stronger.
“As a captain you’re generally tuned to take decisions on the field. Here I was faced with something, which was off the field, to take a decision in the larger interest of the game,” Kumble told Ravichandran Ashwin during latter’s YouTube show ‘DRSWithAsh’.
“And one of our players (Harbhajan Singh) was obviously banned for three matches because of a racist remark – that was what the pronouncement was and we appealed. I felt he was wronged.
“We had to obviously be together as a team but the challenge was that there was a lot of talk about the team wanting to come back at that point in time, and leave the tour and come back.
“Yes, you know, probably (people) would have accepted that the Indian team was wronged and that’s why they came back,” he added.
Harbhajan Singh himself had opened up on his suspension and further enquiries, saying it was a tough phase for him. He was also convinced that Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting heard what he said during the incident. Further explaining the situation, Singh said, he was made to look like pop stat Michael Jackson in Australia.
Harbhajan, however, was cleared of the charges with Symonds’ career being effected due to the incident.