Former Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh has opened up on the infamous monkeygate scandal involving Australia’s Andrew Symonds during the second Test of the Border-Gavaskar series in 2008 in Sydney and the controversy almost led to the tour being called off.
Incidentally, Harbhajan and Symonds had a showdown during the Sydney Test. Harbhajan, who was charged with racial abuse, had retaliated with ‘Teri maa ki’ in Hindi which was misunderstood as monkey by the Australians.
Speaking on Backstage with Boria, Harbhajan Singh said:
“Obviously I was disturbed, I couldn’t understand why it was happening. Why was there so much of… for something that hadn’t happened. They had six or seven witnesses for something that I had not spoken. No one had heard it and yet it was blown out of proportion.”
“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.”
"They said I have testicles on my head" says @harbhajan_singh opening up on #Monkygate What was he going through mentally? How did he deal with it all? #BackstageWithBoria #Promo pic.twitter.com/8FAE7J5meF
— Boria Majumdar (@BoriaMajumdar) January 29, 2022
“Only I know how I spent time alone in my room” – Harbhajan Singh
Originally banned for three Tests, Harbhajan’s punishment was reduced to a 50 % match-fee fine. The veteran, who missed the third Test, opened up how he spent time in his hotel room.
“Only I know how I spent time alone in my room during that difficult period. I didn’t try to talk much with the players or management. They were anyways backing me throughout the incident. I didn’t want to stress others with what I was going through. I had to deal with it in whatever way I could, and I am glad that I could and still go out there and play and win a few games for India in Australia,” Harbhajan concluded.