POST TIME: 16 December, 2018 02:54:39 PM
Harbhajan denies apologizing to Symonds for 'monkeygate'
Independent Online Desk

Harbhajan denies apologizing to Symonds for 'monkeygate'

Former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds has divulged how Harbhajan Singh "broke down crying" while apologizing to him four years later for the infamous monkeygate of 2008. Harbhajan though has rebutted Symonds's revelation, saying that the apology never took place. "When did that happen? Broke down? What for?" he tweeted.

In the 2008 Sydney Test between Australia and India, Harbhajan was accused of calling Symonds a monkey and copped a three-Test ban, which was later revoked after India threatened to pull out of the tour midway.

Symonds claims that Harbhajan apologized to him during an IPL season four years after the incident, when both of them played for the Mumbai Indians.

"We go to a very wealthy man's place for a barbecue, drinks and dinner one night and the whole team's there and he had guests there, and Harbhajan said 'mate, can I speak to you for a minute out in the garden out the front'," Symonds told Fox Sports in an interview on Sunday (December 16). "He goes, 'look, I've got to say sorry to you for what I did to you in Sydney. I apologise, I hope I didn't cause you, your family, your friends too much harm and I really apologise for what I said, I shouldn't have said it'.

"And he actually broke down crying, and I could just see that was a huge weight off his shoulders, he had to get rid of it. We shook hands and I gave him a hug and said: 'Mate, it's all good. It's dealt with'."

Symonds also talked about the impact the monkeygate scandal had on his career, which saw an abrupt end in the aftermath of the incident. Symonds had felt letdown by Cricket Australia, and it weighed on his conscience even though his teammates and close friends like Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke backed him up seamlessly.

"I suppose this would be the moment where my whole persona to cricket changed. I didn't realise the politics, the power, the money until this moment in my career," Symonds said. "I didn't realise how powerful one player, one incident, how much money was at stake and the ramifications."

"I started drinking way too much and my cricket, my mindset - I started to go downhill, I just wasn't in the right frame of mind. I went downhill pretty fast after this because I felt responsible for four of my mates, close mates, that I dragged into this whole situation and it beared very heavily on me."

Symonds, however, also conceded that the exchange between the two which led to use of the word by Harbhajan was instigated by him as a result of frustration with the Indian offspinner's demeanour, coupled with his successful partnership with Sachin Tendulkar in the first-innings.

"He was batting well and it was that exact moment there when he tapped Binga on the arse," Symonds said. "I think I was fielding at mid-off and I came in pretty hard [at him]. I'd taken a disliking to how he carried on when he got Punter out, and so I was probably looking for a fight."Cricbuzz.