'Monkeygate' reignites as Harbhajan Singh denies he cried in front of Symonds

Published December 17, 2018
Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds had a falling out during a 2008 Test match. — File
Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds had a falling out during a 2008 Test match. — File

Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh has refuted claims from Andrew Symonds that he broke down and cried in apologising over the infamous “monkeygate” scandal, telling the Australian to “grow up”.

Symonds on Sunday recounted what he claimed was a truce between the pair called three years after the ugly incident in the 2008 Sydney Test, where Singh was accused of calling Symonds a “monkey”.

He told Fox Sports that Singh “actually broke down crying” after saying sorry when they met up in Mumbai.

But the Indian took to Twitter to dispute this, saying: “When did that happen??? Broke down?? What for???” In a later tweet to his nine million followers he told Symonds to get over it.

“I thought he was a very good cricketer but Symonds has turned out to be a good fiction writer,” he said. “He sold a story then (2008) and he is 'selling a story' now (2018). Mate, the world has come of age in these 10 years and it's time you also grew up.”

At the time, Singh was charged with racial abuse and suspended for three matches despite denying any wrongdoing.

But the ban was overturned when India threatened to quit the tour in what was an all-time low in India-Australia cricket relations.

In his interview with Fox, Symonds said the pair were reunited by the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League in 2011.

“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 claimed.

“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 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, who was born in England with one of his parents of West Indian background, has previously recounted how his life went downhill after the incident.

He started drinking heavily and in June 2009 his Cricket Australia contract was withdrawn after he was sent home from the World Twenty20 following the latest in a series of alcohol-related indiscretions.

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