Melbourne: Giving a first hand account of the ‘Monkeygate’ drama, Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds has said he felt Harbhajan Singh had realised his mistake after the Indian off-spinner uttered what sounded like ‘monkey’ to him — not once but twice.

Recalling the fateful Sydney Test against India in his autobiography ‘Roy on the rise — A year of living dangerously’, Symonds said he felt Harbhajan’s behaviour had “changed dramatically” after the incident.

“We were just back from tea and Harbhajan had brought up his 50. He was at the non-striker’s end, hitting a single off Binga (Brett Lee) and gave him a tap on the backside with his hand. I jumped and told him he needn’t bother getting ‘palsy-walsy’ just because he was making a few runs,” Symonds wrote.

“He didn’t appreciate my language and we kept up the exchange at the end of the over as we were moving into positions. He called me over and when I got a bit closer I heard what sounded to me like ‘monkey’ being thrown in my direction — not once but twice,” he said.

“...It is a matter of record what went on from there. I can only add that I thought Harbhajan’s demeanour changed dramatically after the incident, as if he knew he had crossed the line,” Symonds said.

Blames ICC

Symonds said he was never satisfied with the decision of Justice John Hansen but blamed it on the International Cricket Council, which failed to provide the recordings of the incident to the judge.

“As for the final outcome — Harbhajan’s ban was overturned — I reckon most right-minded people would argue that judge Hansen didn’t get the result right, though he could only make the decision based on the information he had been provided with.

“ICC let him down badly by failing to provide him with Harbhajan’s full disciplinary record, and their laxness meant it was an unsatisfactory end — in my eyes anyways.”

“...Pup (Michael Clarke) came straight over to me and asked, ‘Did he just say to you what I think he said?’ When I confirmed it, he told Punter (Ricky Ponting), the umpires became aware of the situation and then, after the next over, Punter left the ground to inform the team management.

“It went out of my hands almost immediately, once others in our team became aware of the details. So be it — I had agreed to that course of action in the dressing room after the Mumbai game and could only respect the decision of my captain and teammates.” — PTI

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