‘I’m literally crying and begging not to ban or do anything with Bhajji paa’
The ‘slapgate’ incident created a big controversy in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008. The cricket world was abuzz with the slap of Harbhajan Singh to S Sreesanth.
Sreesanth has opened his mouth regarding that incident recently. He claimed that he had cried before the inquiry committee so that Harbhajan would not be punished.
In that IPL, Mumbai Indians lost to Kings XI Punjab. Sreesanth’s remarks provoked the pain of that defeat. Addressing Harbhajan, Sreesanth said, “Punjab Bombay ko haraayenge, Punjab Bombay ko haraaynge.” Harbhajan slapped him in response. The image of Sreesanth’s broken face spread everywhere.
Recalling the incident, the speedster said, “I was in a kiddish mood and was trying to tease Bhaji Paa when he got out. I could not realise that he was in a different mood. But Sachin Tendulkar came to intervene saying both of you play for the same team and we resolved everything out there only. We had dinner together thereafter but the media took it to another level.”
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) appointed Sudhindra Nanavati to investigate the incident. According to Sreesanth,
“And even in front of Nanavati sir, they have the video clipping also if not, where I’m literally crying and begging and telling him not to ban or do anything with Bhajji paa, we are going to play together, I don’t want anything to be taken away from Bhajji paa because he is a match-winner, he has taken hat-tricks for India, I’ve just started playing and I want to win matches with Bhajji paa because I consider him as my elder brother…there is a video….I don’t know whether they will give it to you or not….you can ask Nanavati sir.”
How is the relationship with Harbhajan now? Sreesanth said, “But I’m absolutely fine with Bhajji paa….he’s changed a lot, I’ve….in public also he has said ‘Sree tu kahi bhi ho yaar, maaf karde’….he was always my elder brother, maybe at that point of time it was different but he will always be a legend.”