‘You have testicles on your head’ – Harbhajan Singh recalls what all was said to him in Monkeygate incident in Australia
Harbhajan said that the matter was blown out of proportion.
Updated - Jan 29, 2022 2:47 pm
Former off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was known to bamboozle the best in the business with his ‘Doosra’ but apart from his match-winning spells, he also had his fair share of controversies on the field. His ‘Monkeygate’ incident with Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds is one of the talking points in the game.
The incident dates back to January 2008 during the second Test match between Australia and India at the SCG and while the match is known for the umpiring blunders from Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson, the contest is known for the infamous incident due to which Harbhajan had to bear the brunt. Lately, the veteran offie has spoken about what exactly had happened and how it affected him then.
Harbhajan Singh said he was needlessly vilified for something that he had not done in the first place but, at the same time, nobody even bothered to look into the racial discrimination that he had faced on the ground.
“I was disturbed and wondered why was all this happening. Why is a thing that never happened in the first place being blown out of proportion? There were 6-7 witnesses for an act that I had never committed. Nobody heard it and they made a big deal out of nothing and whatever was being said to me on the ground, ‘You have testicles on your head’, and for me to hear that and my religion being insulted was a difficult thing”, said Harbhajan while speaking to sports journalist Boria Majumdar on Backstage With Boria.
My teammates supported me, says Harbhajan Singh
At the same time, the two-time World Cup winner also added that he received full support from his teammates and did not discuss it with them as he knew they would back him.
“Only I knew how I used to spend time in my room during that difficult phase. I never thought of having a word with the players or the management because they were anyways with me. In the whole incident, they were backing me but since my stress level had already reached beyond a certain level I did not want to stress anyone else. So, I had to deal with whatever way I could and I am glad that I could and I could go out there and play and win a few games for Team India in Australia”, he said.
Harbhajan Singh was accused of calling Symonds ‘Monkey’ and the Aussies complained to the umpire. There was an inquiry after the completion of the game and the verdict was passed against the off-spinner according to the ICC’s Code of Conduct which imposed a three-match ban on the of-spinner. However, the ban was eventually overturned after India decided to boycott the tour. Nonetheless, the Punjab cricketer was fined 50% of his match fee.