Twelve years after the infamous monkeygate scandal that threatened India‘s tour of Australia in 2008, Ricky Ponting has opened up on how it affected him and his team leading up to their defeat in the Perth Test. Also Read - Virat Kohli, Sachin Tendulkar, Mary Kom Participate in Lights Off Challenge as Sporting Fraternity Unite in Fight Against COVID-19 Pandemic by Lighting Candles, Lamps
Terming it as the ‘lowest point’ of his career as Australia captain, Ponting said the issue dragged on for long and the team felt let down by the outcome of it. Also Read - COVID-19 Outbreak: Harbhajan Singh, Wife Geeta Basra to Feed 5000 families in Jalandhar
The scandal unfolded during India’s first innings of the second Test in Sydney as they were replying to Australia’s 463-all out. The pair of Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh frustrated the hosts with their partnership as they continued taking their team closer to the total. Also Read - MS Dhoni Hardly Sat in Business Class During Domestic Flights, Preferred Sitting With TV Crew: Sunil Gavaskar
During their partnership, a fairly innocuous moment between Harbhajan and pacer Brett Lee flared up.
A bouncer from Lee was guided by Harbhajan for four following which the Indian patted his bat apparently lauding the Aussie’s efforts saying ‘hard luck’. An irked Andrew Symonds and Matthew Hayden confronted the batsman following which all hell broke loose.
Harbhajan was alleged to have called Symonds ‘monkey’ leading to a complaint to the on-field umpires for using a racial slur.
“Monkeygate was probably the lowest (point in career as captain). Losing the 2005 Ashes series was tough but I was in full control of that. But I wasn’t in full control of what happened during the Monkeygate thing,” Ponting said on Sky Sports podcast.
He continued, “It was a low point and also because it dragged on for so long. I remember coming off the ground during the Adelaide Test match and speaking to Cricket Australia officials about the case because the hearing was at the end of the Adelaide Test match.”
A hearing followed with New Zealand High Court judge John Hansen presiding over it. Harbhajan was eventually acquitted having earlier handed a three-match ban following which India threaten to quit the tour midway.
“We all felt let down by the end result. The fact that it got in the way of the way we played our cricket for the next Test match was probably the most disappointing thing,” Ponting said. “So we go over there and India at Perth is game we expect to win and then we lost the match and after that the next few days things just got worse and worse.”
India lost the Sydney Test but went on to win the Perth Test while the fourth ended in a draw with Australia winning the series 2-1.