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'We were sitting in a high court waiting for the verdict on Harbhajan Singh' - Ricky Ponting on Monkeygate

Ricky Ponting observed the Monkeygate scandal blew out of proportions very quickly
Ricky Ponting observed the Monkeygate scandal blew out of proportions very quickly
Kartik Iyer
ANALYST
Modified 22 Dec 2020, 11:56 IST
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Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has recalled that the Monkeygate incident involving Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds took a legal turn with a judge pronouncing a verdict on the issue.

He made this observation during an interaction with Ravichandran Ashwin in the latter's YouTube show DRS with Ash.

Ashwin asked Ricky Ponting what it was like being on the Australian side of the fence with India wanting to pull out of the series. He responded it was a very tricky scenario and that he, as a captain, had to support the claims made by Andrew Symonds.

"Look, it was obviously very difficult or I will say delicate situation as well. But yeah you have to understand that I had to back up Andrew Symonds and what had been said."

The Aussie skipper at the time added it was mandatory to report if any instances of racial abuse had taken place.

"As a captain, we are constantly told and reminded that this racial vilification stuff, if it ever happens or if it's ever heard on the field, it just has to be reported."

Ricky Ponting on the sequence of events in the Monkeygate saga

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Ricky Ponting feels the Monkeygate scandal has intensified the rivalry between India and Australia
Ricky Ponting feels the Monkeygate scandal has intensified the rivalry between India and Australia

Ricky Ponting recalled the issue was blown out of proportion after he reported it to the umpires.

"So it happened on the field and I went to the umpires straightaway, let them know and there was a meeting that night. And it just sort of grew from there. It grew quickly. And it wasn't an issue between two teams to be honest."

He added a court hearing was held with the teams waiting on the ICC appeals commissioner's verdict on Harbhajan Singh.

"It got to the board level so quickly but at the end of the Test, we were just sitting in a high court in Adelaide, having the verdict on what was gonna happen with Harbhajan."

Ricky Ponting observed he was only involved in the incident as the Australian skipper.

"It was an amazing event of circumstances. I mainly involved in it because I was the captain of the Australian team. And it wasn't like it was directly involved with me."
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While acknowledging none of the players will be proud of the incident, Ricky Ponting pointed out the events spiced up the rivalry between India and Australia.

"But anyone who was involved in it will probably look back and think that it wasn't a highlight of their career. But I think what it has also done is, it continued the really strong rivalry, I reckon between the two countries."

Ricky Ponting signed off by highlighting that the contests in an India-Australia series now are almost on par with the Ashes.

"There is no doubt that an Ashes series now, an Indian series now, I think both teams will say the same thing, it's almost on an even keel."

Harbhajan Singh was eventually found not guilty of having racially abused Andrew Symonds in the Sydney Test of 2008. But the sequence of events and the umpiring blunders in Sydney spurred the Indian team, and they went on to defeat the Aussies on the bouncy Perth surface in the next Test.


Published 22 Dec 2020, 11:56 IST
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