Harbhajan Singh vs Andrew Symonds: The Monkeygate incident involved Andrew Symonds alleging that Harbhajan Singh abused him based on his race. That wasn’t just about it. Things weren’t as simple as they sounded.
Which is why we need to discuss it all together in a series of events that followed.
Anyone who follows or watches cricket would know that the Australian team is well-known for their intimidating tactics like sledging and verbal teasing. Nevertheless, while many might recall Monkeygate as a one-off incident, the test match in which it allegedly happened wasn’t free from other related controversies too.
Let’s talk about the match first.
The Match and Related Controversies
It was the 2nd test match of the Border Gavaskar Trophy (2007-08). While it is true what transpired between Bhajji and Symonds was the main highlight of this match, but there were some other things too.
The deliberate controversial decisions given by the on-field umpires against the Indian made sure that the match ended up in the favour of the Australians. Many would later recall that it was as if Ricky Ponting (then Australian captain) was actually playing the umpire and the on-field officials were simply following suit.
The Indian spinner was banned at first for 3 matches which incensed senior Indian cricketers like Anil Kumble and Sachin Tendulkar. If Tendulkar and Singh are correct, what transpired was that Andrew kept provoking Harbhajan again and again.
As it kept going on, Singh lost his calm and shouted a Hindi phrase which people in North India do when they get angry. That was all. The match was perhaps the ugliest of all tests that have been played as even Australian players like Gilchrist didn’t object to what Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting were doing.
Anil Kumble’s Response
While the Indian camp knew what was done in the match, they didn’t do something as intensive as boycotting the match midway. Anil Kumble had to say in the press conference that only team played in that match while keeping the spirit of the game in mind and he left it all there.
What was sad about the whole thing that the officials were biased. Even when Sachin Tendulkar and others went to present Bhajji’s case, the verdict was that they were outright lying. Though there was person who stood up to what was going on and tried to talk about the possible reasons why the allegation was made up.
Chetan Chauhan’s Point of View
He pointed out that the whole incident was made up to get Harbhajan removed from the remaining matches of the series. And it wasn’t something that didn’t have any basis. Chetan rightly pointed out that Harbhajan was dismissing Ponting in a number of his innings and Ponting wanted to ‘get him removed’.
The feud between the both wasn’t a new thing. It went back as far as 1998. In the previous 7 tests, Singh had sent Ponting back home 6 times. It did sound plausible but the Australians were stunned by these allegations.
Not just that, Chauhan also said that for Indians, it didn’t make sense at all to be racist in the first place.
A Possible Explanation about what happened between Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds
What might have possibly happened was that since Harbhajan said something in Hindi, Simonds probably mistook it as something else. And the Australians made it all way big than it actually was. Nevertheless, what fuelled the fire more were the unfair dismissals.
Role of Media
Media as usual got to work and took things so high, that there was a possibility that the bilateral relations of both the countries could have gotten affected. But thankfully, the 3-match ban was lifted after the BCCI too pointed out the unfairness of the verdict.
For Indian fans who watched this match, it is something painful to recall as all it seemed to have mattered for the Australians was winning. Everything else seemed too distant. Is it possible that it was the Australian team that was actually getting silent approval of the on-field officials while they all knew what they were doing? This is a question which probably will never get answered.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Did Harbhajan Singh ever talk about Monkeygate later?
Yes, in his appearance on Aakash Chopra’s YouTube channel, he explained how the Australians apparently weren’t telling what actually happened.
What was the result of the Monkeygate Match?
Australia won the match by 122 runs on the last day.
Did India win the 2007-08 Border Gavaskar Trophy?
No. India didn’t win the 2007-08 Border Gavaskar Series.
Did the Australian team lie about Monkeygate?
Sachin Tendulkar did talk about the incidence in his book telling how something that didn’t happen was created out of thin air by the Australians.
Is it true that Harbhajan Singh said what Andrew Simonds alleged?
What Harbhajan said was “Teri maa ki…” which is something of a common expression in North India when someone gets angry against someone.
What was Sachin Tendulkar’s reaction on Monkeygate?
He was angry with what had transpired and was even a key witness to the event. He was even present at the hearing to defend Harbhajan Singh.
Who was the Indian captain at the time of Monkeygate?
Veteran Indian spinner Anil Kumble was the captain at that time.
Did Ponting have a feud with Harbhajan?
Yes, they did have an escalation in 1998 and even before the scandal, Ponting was being dismissed Harbhajan a lot of times.
Was MS Dhoni a part of the Indian team at the time of Monkeygate?
Yes, he was a part of the Indian team when the scandal happened.