'Monkeygate' incident led to my downfall: Andrew Symonds

Symonds puts light on what is termed as one of the most controversial tours.

Andrew Symonds of Australia watches Harbhajan Singh
Andrew Symonds of Australia watches Harbhajan Singh. (Photo Source: Getty Images)
Aayushman Vishwanathan

Jr. Staff Writer

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Former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds has opened up on how the “Monkeygate” controversy in 2007-08 Test series down under lead him to alcohol abuse. The series was also known for too many umpiring errors which eventually denied India a possible series win down under.

The altercation took place when Symonds accused Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh of calling him a “monkey”. The off-spinner strictly rejected the allegations and despite that, he was suspended for three Test matches only to be overturned later after the Indian team threatened to quit the tour midway. But Symonds insisted that he had been called as monkey by Harbhajan at least two or three times.

Symonds, who was one of the greatest all-rounders that the world had witnessed and one of the potent figures of Australia’s dominating era, admitted that his career was on a downhill since that episode.

Symonds reveals his darkest days

Following the alcohol-related indiscretions, Andrew Symonds was sent home from the World Twenty20 2009 in England and his contract was terminated by Cricket Australia. The 43-year old talented all-rounder’s career was cut-short and could never play for Australia again.

Symonds also accepted that the guilt he was going through, was an additional baggage to him. The guilt was of dragging teammates who could back up his story of being racially abused.

Symonds told the Australian broadcasting corporation, “From that moment on, that was my downhill slide. I had started to drink heavily as a result of it and my life was starting to dissolve around me. I was dealing with it the wrong way. I felt guilty that I’d drag my mates into something I didn’t think they deserved to be involved in.”

Having made his debut in 1998, the burly all-rounder shone in the 2003 World Cup when he scored 143 against Pakistan and rescued Australia from trouble. He again played a key role in another perfect World Cup victory for Australia in 2007. A limited-overs specialist, he was also a veteran of 26 tests, having a solid average of 40.

~Written by Aayushmaan Vishwanathan