Symonds reveals Monkeygate affair on India’s tour of Australia led him to abuse alcohol

Former Australia batsman Andrew Symonds revealed how his life started to go out of control after the infamous ‘Monkeygate’ affair on India’s tour of Australia in 2007-08.

India's tour of Australia

In a recent interview with reporter Mark Howard, the former Aussie player talked in details about the controversy that threatened at one point to end India’s tour.

It all started on day 3 of the second Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) when Harbhajan Singh was batting with Sachin Tendulkar. All of a sudden, battle of words began between Harbhajan and Symonds which ended in the most horrible way.

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Symonds said “Listen here d***head, we’re not out here to make friends, you’re about to get hurt here.”
In reply to it, Harbhajan said: “You’re nothing but a monkey.’ He said it probably two or three times.”

And Symonds said it was on his downhill slide since then. Ricky Ponting, who was the captain at that time made an official complaint as he including some of his team-mates heard when Harbhajan called Symonds a monkey.

Ponting, Symonds, Matthew Hayden and Michael Clarke were called by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to give evidence over what had happened. Soon after, Harbhajan was initially charged with racial abuse and he was handed a 3-match ban.

India's tour of Australia 2007

However, the ban was lifted after the Indian team protested and appealed the decision. The appeal was heard by the New Zealand High Court judge, he found the racism charge was not proven. At the end of the day, the Indian spinner was only fined  50 per cent of his match fee.

The case brought immense media scrutiny for everyone involved and Symonds said his guilt over the way the process played out had really hung over him.

“I felt the pressure and the weight of dragging those mates of mine into the cauldron of this cesspit that should never have got to this sort of point where we felt guilty. Me and Punter [Ponting] were up one night before the Adelaide Test until one in the morning talking to our solicitor, so it was tricky times. I was dealing with it the wrong way. I felt guilty that I’d dragged my mates into something I didn’t think they deserved to be involved in.”

Symonds was put on notice by Cricket Australia (CA) for his alcohol consumption the following year, as he spent time out of the team for various disciplinary reasons. His central CA contract was subsequently torn up and he never played for Australia again.

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