Spinner Harbhajan Singh on Sunday opened up about the infamous 2008 Test against Australia, saying in that match, Ricky Ponting acted like an umpire himself. The 2008 Sydney Test match between India and Australia is known for the all wrong reasons as Harbhajan and Andrew Symonds clashed on the field and there were many umpiring errors which most likely cost India the match. The spinner was having an interaction with former India batsman Aakash Chopra and it was then that the ”Turbanator” talked about the 2008 Test against Australia.
“When I talk about the 2008 Test against Australia in Sydney, I think in that match, Ricky Ponting was the umpire himself, he was claiming catches and then was pronouncing the verdict, Australians say what happens on the ground should stay on the ground, but the incident that happened between me and Symonds went beyond the ground,” Harbhajan said on the official YouTube channel of Aakash Chopra.
In the match, Ricky Ponting had claimed the catch of Sourav Ganguly in the second innings. The umpires were not sure as to whether it was a clean catch or not, but Ponting seemed to have raised his finger, signalling it’s out.
Ganguly was dismissed, and the on-air commentator Sunil Gavaskar was also miffed with Ponting’s behaviour.
During the 2008 Test, Symonds alleged that Harbhajan had passed a racist remark upon him and since then, the incident is known as ”MonkeyGate”.
For the altercation with Symonds, Harbhajan was handed a three-match ban by referee Mike Procter although the charges were downgraded on 29 January 2008 to the lesser charge of using abusive language and the ban was lifted.
“Me and Symonds were very close to each other, only Tendulkar was close to us, there was no one else close to us, when the hearing started, Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting, all these four said that they heard what Bhajji said to Symonds,” Harbhajan said.
“I thought you guys were nowhere near the picture, even Sachin Tendulkar did not know what actually transpired between me and Symonds, only both of us knew what we actually talked about, I was engulfed in a conspiracy, there was an enquiry and I was very scared as to what was happening with me. Australian media made me Michael Jackson, I was being constantly chased by cameras,” he added.
Harbhajan also credited the then skipper Anil Kumble for leading the side well and supporting him when the going got real tough.
He said that Kumble along with the entire Indian side assured him of constant support.
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