'Never Felt Animosity' - Harbhajan Singh Reveals How He And Andrew Symonds Reconcile After Monkeygate Scandal

Updated - 03 Apr 2022, 08:01 PM

Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds. Photo- Twitter
Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds. Photo- Twitter

Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh has revealed how he and former Australia cricketer Andrew Symonds patched up after the infamous Monkeygate scandal that happened during India’s tour of Australia in 2007-08.

Harbhajan and Symonds were at the centre of the row in the fractious 2007/08 Test series when Symonds accused Harbhajan of calling him a ‘monkey’ during the Sydney Test match of the Border-Gavaskar series.

On the final day of the Test match, the then-Australia captain Ricky Ponting complained to umpires Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson that Harbhajan had racially insulted Symonds, calling him a ‘Monkey’.

The issue took another turn when it was fought inside the courtroom, as Harbhajan Singh faced a one-Test ban and further repercussions, while BCCI said that the tour will be called off if Harbhajan is punished.

“The things that were said to me (while being) on the ground, ‘you have testicles on your head’, to hear such an insult towards my religion was the most difficult thing for me. I didn’t open my mouth then because if I did so, it would have resulted in more controversies,” Harbhajan Singh had told Boria Majumdar after his retirement.

Even Sachin Tendulkar, in his autobiography ‘Playing It My Way’, wrote that he heard Harbhajan Singh telling Symonds ‘’Teri maa ki’ (Your mother…)’, after the Australian was continuously provoking him.

We Hugged For The First Time And Apologized To Each Other: Harbhajan Singh On Patching Up With Andrew Symonds

However, both the players ended up playing for the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League and Harbhajan Singh has now revealed how the two hugged and apologized to each other after one of the matches.

“I remembered an incident when we were in Chandigarh. After playing a match that we won, we went to my friend’s place. There, we hugged for the first time and apologized to each other. We felt that the issue could have been sorted out in a more amicable manner. Both of us felt sorry. A lot of my friends from Mumbai Indians clicked pictures of that moment,” said Harbhajan on Sportskeeda.

Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds. Photo- IPL
Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds. Photo- IPL

Mumbai Indians picked the top-level Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds in the IPL 2011 auction after Deccan Chargers, for who he earlier played, was disbanded by the IPL.

“When Mumbai picked him, the first thought that came to my mind was – ‘why did they pick him? How will we (me and Symonds) get along together?’ When he entered the MI dressing room, Andrew was a different man altogether. I thought he would some angry person and I feel he would have thought the same about me.

Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds during SCG Test. Photo- Getty
Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds during SCG Test. Photo- Getty

“In fact, we used to eat together and sit together at night. The controversy between me and Symonds was blown out of proportion by the media. When we met, we never felt that there was any such animosity between us,” Harbhajan added.

Harbhajan Singh retired from cricket in 2021 December.

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