‘Ricky Ponting acted like the umpire himself’ – Harbhajan Singh recalls 2008 Sydney Test against Australia
The match was a witness to umpiring goof-ups as well as the 'Monkeygate' scandal.
Updated - Jun 14, 2020 1:51 pm
Harbhajan Singh, the veteran Indian off-spinner, has taken a sly dig at former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting for acting like an umpire during the 2008 Sydney Test. The game was marred with all sorts of controversies and umpiring goof-ups. In the second innings, Ponting claimed opposition captain Sourav Ganguly’s catch and raised his finger, signalling it’s out.
Ganguly got out and Sunil Gavaskar, from the commentary box, wasn’t happy with Ponting by any stretch of the imagination. And now, Harbhajan also expressed his displeasure over the matter. Apart from the dismissal, the ‘Monkeygate’ scandal also caught the headlines to a large extent.
Harbhajan was charged with abusing Andrew Symonds after which the off-spinner was handed a three-match suspension. Not happy with the verdict, Team India threatened to boycott the tour and later the ban had to be lifted.
Me and Symonds were very close to each other: Harbhajan Singh
“When I talk about the 2008 Test against Australia in Sydney, I think in that match, Ricky Ponting was the umpire himself, he was claiming catches and then was pronouncing the verdict, Australians say what happens on the ground should stay on the ground, but the incident that happened between me and Symonds went beyond the ground,” Harbhajan was quoted as saying on YouTube during an interaction with Aakash Chopra.
“Me and Symonds were very close to each other, only Tendulkar was close to us, there was no one else close to us, when the hearing started, Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting, all these four said that they heard what Bhajji said to Symonds,” he added.
Adding insult to injury, Australia won the game by 122 runs and took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series. Symonds was the Player of the Match after he notched an unbeaten 162 and 61. However, India, led by Anil Kumble, came back strong to beat the Aussies at the W.A.C.A in Perth.
Harbhajan didn’t forget to credit Kumble on how the skipper handled the team in the situation of crisis. The Turbanator said that Jumbo, as Kumble is popularly known, and the entire Indian team lent him constant support, increasing his morale.