Former Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan had opened up on the infamous Test series down under in 2007-08. The 2007-08 Border-Gavaskar Trophy held in Australia hogged the limelight for all the wrong reasons. Aside from the umpiring errors, that might have given India their first Test series on the Australian soil, it was also headlined by the altercation between Andrew Symonds and Harbhajan Singh in Sydney.
During an over from the Australian speedster Brett Lee, Harbhajan Singh had a word with all-rounder Andrew Symonds, who interrupted. It was then that a heated exchange triggered that came to be known as the “Monkeygate Scandal”. The fiery trade of words ended with the home side remaining convinced that the off-spinner called Symonds “Monkey”, a racial insult.
The ICC slapped a ban on Harbhajan, prohibiting from playing in three Tests. Recalling the same, Irfan Pathan called the Australian media exceptionally relentless, prone to saying negative things about the visitors. As part of the “MonkeyGate” fiasco, Harbhajan always remained under the scanner. At the same, he hailed the then captain Anil Kumble having handled one of the harshest circumstances well.
“Our media behaves well with our guests, but the Australian media is ruthless, they just talk about negatives things on the touring team, they make it feel like we are playing in fire. They got ‘Monkeygate scandal’ to cover at that time,” Pathan stated as quoted by Times Now.
“At least one cameraman will always be designated behind Harbhajan. But Kumble handled the situation very well, it was one of the hardest times for us, even our manager didn’t let us step outside our hotel just to stay away from media,” he added.
Test win in Perth would always remain memorable: Irfan Pathan
The left-arm fast bowler lauded India’s historic victory in Perth against Australia that is counted amongst their famous overseas wins in Tests. The fact that the visitors bounced back with a triumph from all the controversies surrounding the SCG Test would always stay close to their heart.
Irfan Pathan received the man of the match in Perth for scoring 74 runs and bagging five wickets in that game. Nevertheless, India lost the series by a scoreline of 2-1, including the Sydney Test by 122 runs. It would be another ten years before the tourists clinch their first Test series in Australia.
“We also decided to give our best to defeat Australia in Perth. Many thought our morale was down but we did very well. That Test will be remembered forever because of the way we won after the fiasco. Winning MOM award will always stay close to my heart.” he stated further.