12 years of Monkeygate: The IND vs AUS Sydney Test that erupted into a courtroom battle


Twelve years in the past on today in 2008, the New Year’s Test between India and Australia on the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), remembered principally for the ‘Monkeygate’ scandal, noticed one of the ugliest controversies in cricket erupt. A collection of weird umpiring selections and a private stand-off between Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds, which turned into a racial controversy, noticed the battle for Sydney lengthen many days past the Test.

Umpires Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson had already been within the highlight a number of instances within the match, however the officers’ hand was compelled past return when Australia captain Ricky Ponting, on the final day of the Test, complained to them that Harbhajan had racially insulted Symonds by calling him a “monkey”.

Australia beat India by 122 runs within the Test, however the true battle was but to return. It was fought in a courtroom over the following few days, with Harbhajan having been suspended for 3 Tests.

Harbhajan had “a very angry” Sachin Tendulkar in his nook, with BCCI threatening to drag out of the tour.

In ‘Playing It My Way’, Tendulkar wrote “Anil Kumble (the then captain) and I took the lead and it was unanimously decided that we would boycott the tour if Bhajji’s ban was upheld.”

“I want to state very clearly that the incident arose because Andrew Symonds had been continually trying to provoke Bhajji and it was inevitable that the two would have an altercation at some point. While walking up to Bhajji to try to calm things down, I heard him say ‘Teri maa ki’ (Your mother…) to Symonds. It is an expression we often use in north India to vent our anger and to me it was all part of the game,” the batting maestro stated.

Captain Anil Kumble made India’s stand on the match clear on the post-match press convention. “Only one team is playing in the spirit of the game,” he stated.

READ | Only one facet was ready to provide their model: Match Referee Mike Procter

Testimonies of the incident flew in from each side. Match referee Mike Procter discovered his {photograph} splashed on the entrance pages of Indian newspapers. Michael Clarke was one of the Australians who insisted he had heard Harbhajan, whereas India’s senior gamers backed Harbhajan.

Eventually, Harbhajan’s punishment was diminished to a 50% match-fee nice. ICC eliminated umpire Bucknor from the third Test in Perth. India received that Test in Perth however Australia drew the ultimate Test in Adelaide and received the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Justice Hansen’s listening to, with Indian and Australian gamers giving their model of occasions. (File Photo/AFP)

Excerpts from the ebook as Procter elaborates his facet:

“Symonds had beforehand accused the Indian spinner of racial abuse in Mumbai, they usually unsurprisingly didn t have a lot time for one another. Of course, each gamers had been essential to their groups, particularly on this explicit match.

“I can nonetheless see Ricky Ponting bounding off the sector, and up the steps in a actual hurry. This often meant an injured finger or, extra seemingly, nature s name can t watch for the approaching tea break. But it was infinitely extra critical than that. It was a huge allegation, given all of the efforts that the ICC had undertaken to eradicate racism from the sport.

“We had a tape of the incident in query, however the sound had one way or the other disappeared.

READ | ‘There were 7 mistakes’: Irfan Pathan refuses to purchase Steve Bucknor’s rationalization on 2008 Sydney Test

“The Indian supervisor, Chetan Chauhan, was then invited to ask Ponting any questions regarding the matter, which he duly did. His query was extra of an allegation, as he accused Australia of making up the entire racism incident, just because they wished Harbhajan off the tour, as a result of he stored getting Ponting out. The complete Australian get together was surprised by the allegation, however Chetan was not executed simply but. He knowledgeable Ponting that the racism cost was fully made up, as a result of as Indians, it was simply not attainable for them to be racist.

“Chetan then produced an album of photos, with princes and princesses in regal dress, but with monkey heads. He said that monkeys were an Indian deity, further reiterating their point that the entire episode had been made up, because they wouldn’t want to insult monkeys.”


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