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Harbhajan Singh was at the center stage of controversies during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2007-08 which is remembered as the Monkeygate scandal in cricket history. The veteran spinner has, recently, recalled the old incident and revealed how all the things folded for him.
That particular Test series became famous for all the wrong things. Umpire had given wrong decisions, and Adam Gilchrist was accused of poor sportsmanship during the series. It hogged the eyeball of everyone after Harbhajan was charged for passing racial remark to Andrew Symonds. The veteran spinner was banned for three-Test for calling Symond as Monkey. However, after Indian players protested against the decision, the ban was removed.
In the recent interaction with the commentator Aakash Chopra, Harbhajan Singh revealed what happened during the verbal spat with the Symonds. Harbhajan was surprised as Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting claimed that they heard all the talks between him and Symonds although, as per him, they were not present in the whole frame when things were turning between the two.
Me and Symonds were very close to each other: Harbhajan Singh
“Me and Symonds were very close to each other. Only Sachin Tendulkar was close to me, he was five-six steps away and there was no one else close to us. But when the discussion started, Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting, all these four said that they heard what Bhajji said to Symonds,” the off-spinner recalled in the latest episode of Aakash Chopra’s Youtube show ‘Aakash Vani’.
“I said ‘I thought you guys were nowhere near the picture. If you watch the footage, you are nowhere’. Even Sachin Tendulkar, who was standing close to us, did not know what actually transpired between me and Symonds, only both of us knew what we actually talked about,” Harbhajan said.
Harbhajan was scared after an inquiry was set up on the matter. He felt that he was trapped. He said that Australian media was always around him and continuously chased him like he was Michael Jackson.
“But I was trapped. There was an enquiry and I was very scared as to what was happening with me. ‘Why always me, why I always get into trouble. l don’t want the attention and the cameras always following me’. Australian media made me Michael Jackson, I was constantly being chased by the cameras. I was made the superstar, like Sachin Tendulkar of the team,” the 39-year-old said.
The 39-year-old Harbhajan thanked the then captain Anil Kumble and his teammates who supported him. BCCI also stood against the incident and supported their players.