Former Indian Test skipper Anil Kumble has revealed that withdrawals from the Australian tour in 2007-08 would have been accepted by fans, but his team continued the Test series to prove their mettle on foreign soil. The Sydney Test, the second game of the series, is still known for its bad umpiring calls and the Monkeygate scandal, after which Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh was banned for three games by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for alleged racial abuse by the then Australian all-founder Andrew Symonds.
“You know that as a captain you are generally tuned in to make decisions on the field. Here I was confronted with something that was off the field, to make a decision in the greater interest of the game. And one of our players [Harbhajan Singh] was clearly banned for three games because of a racist remark – that was the verdict and we appealed, ”Kumble told Ravichandran Ashwin in his YouTube show ‘DRS with Ash’.
The former leg spinner, who took the most wickets in Test for India, believed Harbhajan was “wronged”.
“I had the feeling that he had been wronged. Of course we had to be together as a team, but the challenge was that there was a lot of talk about the team that wanted to come back, leave the tour and come back. Yes , you know, probably [people] would have accepted that the Indian team was wronged and that is why they came back, “said the legendary spinner.
India lost the Sydney Test by 122 points, but came back stronger to beat Australia in the third Test by 72 points. The fourth test ended in a draw when Australia reached the test series 2-1.
“But I think we would have gone there as captain or team to win the series. Unfortunately, with the first two results not coming our way, the best result could have been a draw as there were two test matches left and I just wanted to join me on the team, ”said Kumble.
“We got by as a unit and then we made a decision to go ahead and make sure to win the next few games, because that would be the best message we can give back to our fans. Because when an Indian team traveling abroad, fans expect the team to do very well and win the series. I believe we have had the opportunity to do that, “he added.
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