Andrew Symonds reveals how Monkeygate led to his alcohol abuse and ‘downhill slide’

first_imgFormer Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds opened up on the infamous monkeygate scandal which took place during the 2008 Test match against India in Sydney.Symonds revealed the exact conversation which took place between him and India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh on day three of the second Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) and how the incident changed his life forever.”I said, ‘Listen here d***head, we’re not out here to make friends, you’re about to get hurt here’,” Symonds told ABS News in a podcast.Andrew Symonds stretched ‘Monkeygate’ incident too far: Michael Clarke”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 captain Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden and Michael Clarke who testified in Symonds’ favour in a hearing after the match.Mike Procter criticises Tendulkar’s role in 2008 Monkeygate controversyFormer India captain Sachin Tendulkar was the lone witness speaking in favour of Harbhajan as he was probably the closest person to hear what was going on between the mercurial Aussie and his teammate at the other end of the pitch. Tendulkar said the ban imposed on Harbhajan left the team furious and players did not wish to continue the 2008 tour (Reuters Photo)Ponting slams Tendulkar for aiding Harbhajan during ‘monkeygate’ rowThe Indian team later appealed against the punishment’s levied on Harbhajan along with the racial-abuse charge. The ban was eventually lifted on Bhajji after appeal was heard by New Zealand High Court judge John Hansen, who found the racism charge was “not proven”.advertisement10 years after the events of the Sydney Test, Symonds has now gone on record to admit that the incident left a deep scar in his heart and also led to his alcohol abuse.”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,” Symmo said.Symonds also revealed that Harbhajan had called him a monkey several times even before the Sydney Test.”I’d spoken to Harbhajan the series before in India, he’d called me a monkey before in India,” Symonds revealed. Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden and Michael Clarke who testified in Symonds’ favour in a hearing after the 2008 Sydney Test (Reuters Photo)Incidentally, Symonds was subject to racial abuse by Indian spectators in a one-day international in Vadodara in 2007 where a section of the crowd was believed to have taunted Symonds by making monkey noises while he was fielding at the boundary line.But relations between India and Australia have slowly started to improve after players from both teams started playing together for the various franchises in the Indian Premier League.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.”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 apologise 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,” Symonds said.last_img read more