Andrew Symonds Became A Drunkard Due To Monkeygate?
By CricShots - Nov 2, 2018 3:41 pm
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Former Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds opened up on the infamous monkeygate scandal which took place during the 2008 Test match against India in Sydney. He also revealed the exact conversation which took place between him and the Indian turbanator, Harbhajan Singh on day three of the second Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) and how the incident changed his life forever.

Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds

In a podcast for ABS News, Symonds said, “I said, ‘Listen here d***head, we’re not out here to make friends, you’re about to get hurt here’. And he [Harbhajan] started going: ‘You’re nothing but a monkey.’ He said it probably two or three times. From that moment on that was my downhill slide.”

The scandal led to Harbhajan getting a three-match ban from the International Cricket Council (ICC) following a hearing which consisted of then-Australia skipper Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden and Michael Clarke who testified in Symonds’ favor in a hearing after the match.

ALSO READ: Mike Procter Recalls The Harbhajan-Symonds Monkeygate Controversy

Legendary Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar was the lone witness speaking in favor of Harbhajan as he was probably the closest person to hear what was going on between Symonds and his teammate at the other end of the pitch. However, the Indian players later appealed against the punishment’s levied on Harbhajan along with the racial-abuse charge. The ban was eventually lifted on Bhajji after the appeal was heard by New Zealand High Court judge John Hansen, who found the racism charge was “not proven”.

Harbhajan Singh during the hearing

After completing a decade of the events of the Sydney Test, Symonds also asserted that the incident left a deep scar in his heart and also led to his alcohol abuse. He said, “I felt the pressure and the weight of dragging those mates of mine into the cauldron of this cesspit that should never have got to this sort of point where we felt guilty. I was dealing with it the wrong way. I started to drink heavily as a result of it and my life was starting to dissolve around me. I felt guilty that I’d dragged my mates into something I didn’t think they deserved to be involved in.”

Symonds also revealed that Harbhajan had called him a monkey several times even before the Sydney Test, during their tour to India. Incidentally, Symonds was subject to racial abuse by Indian spectators in an ODI in Vadodara in 2007 where a section of the crowd was believed to have insulted Andrew by making monkey noises while he was fielding at the boundary line.

ALSO READ: Yuzvendra Chahal spoke about his friendship with Andrew Symonds

But relations between India and Australia have slowly started to improve after players from both nations started playing together forthe various franchises in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Harbhajan and Symonds during ICC World T20


Symonds and Harbhajan also shared the dressing room at Mumbai Indians, where they played together for in the 2011 season. The duo eventually buried the hatchet and became friends with Sachin Tendulkar helping his team-mates in doing that.

The all-rounder elaborated, “When I got to Mumbai it was icy when I walked in there the first time. We’d had a few drinks and Harbhajan came over to me. He said, ‘Boss can I talk to you for a minute?’ He said, ‘I really want to apologize for what I did and what I said, I hope it hasn’t harmed you or your family too badly,’ and he broke down. I could just see the weight lift off his shoulders when he got that off his chest.”