The 2008 Sydney Test match held between India and Australia is widely known for all the wrong reasons. From numerous umpiring errors to ‘MonkeyGate,’ controversy took place between Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh and Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds, the SCG test will always be remembered for the off beam events.
Recalling the Test, veteran spinner Harbhajan on Sunday claimed that in that game Ricky Ponting acted like an umpire himself. Harbhajan said all this during an interaction with former India batsman Aakash Chopra on latter’s YouTube channel.
During that contest, Ponting had taken the catch of Sourav Ganguly in the second innings. The umpires were not sure about the cleanliness of the catch, but the then Australian captain had raised his finger, signalling it’s out.
After which, Ganguly was dismissed, and the on-air commentator Sunil Gavaskar looked extremely annoyed with Ponting’s behaviour.
“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 Symonds and me went beyond the ground,” Harbhajan told Chopra.
As if this was not enough, Aussie all-rounder Symonds alleged that Harbhajan had passed a racist remark upon him and that incident is known as ‘MonkeyGate’. Due to which, the ‘Turbanator’ was handed a three-match ban by referee Mike Procter.
Reminiscing the episode, Harbhajan stated that nobody knew on the filed what really happened between Symonds and me, yet Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Michael Clarke, and Ponting claimed that they heard everything.
“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,” Harbhajan said.
Bhajji further said that after the incident, the Australian media followed him as if he was Michael Jackson. Harbhajan admitted that he was actually very scared as the local media kept on chasing me.
“I thought you guys were nowhere near the picture, even Sachin Tendulkar did not know what actually transpired between Symonds and me, only both of us knew what we actually talked about, I was engulfed in a conspiracy, there was an enquiry, and I was terrified as to what was happening with me. Australian media made me Michael Jackson; cameras were constantly chasing me,” the offie added.