'Monkeygate' incident behind downfall in international cricket, 'binge drinking', says Andrew Symonds (Photo: Twitter)
Former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds has blamed the ‘monkeygate’ incident that happened during the home series against India in 2008 behind his downfall in international cricket and even led to bouts of “binge drinking”.
Andrew Symonds accused Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh of calling him a ‘monkey’ in the Sydney Test, the claim that Harbhajan denied firmly. The controversial incident led to the banning of the Indian offie for three games but was overturned following Indian team’s threat to pull out of the series.
Symonds recalled how the entire controversy affected his career.
“From that moment on that was my downhill slide. I started to drink heavily as a result of it and my life was starting to dissolve around me,” Symonds told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“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.
“I was dealing with it the wrong way. I felt guilty that I’d dragged my mates (teammates) into something I didn’t think they deserved to be involved in.”
The flamboyant Aussie all-rounder played his last game for the Kangaroos in May 2009 and his Cricket Australia contract was withdrawn a month later after he was sent back from the World T20 for “breaking a number of team rules related to alcohol and other issues.”
Meanwhile on the ‘monkeygate’ incident, Symonds remained firm with his claims that Harbhajan Singh had abused him multiple times.
“I’d spoken to Harbhajan the series before in India, he’d called me a monkey before in India.
“I went into their dressing room and said, ‘Can I speak to Harbhajan for a minute outside please?’ So he came outside and I said, ‘Look, the name-calling’s got to stop or else it’s going to get out of hand.’”
(With inputs from PTI)