Melbourne: Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting has opened up about the infamous ‘monkeygate’ episode, saying that it was the lowest point of his captaincy stint.
During the Sydney Test of 2007-08 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Andrew Symonds had accused Harbhajan Singh of calling him a ‘monkey’, a claim which the Indian off-spinner had denied.
“Monkeygate was probably the lowest (point in career as captain). Losing the 2005 Ashes series was tough but I was in full control of that. But I wasn’t in full control of what happened during the Monkeygate thing,” Ponting told on the Sky Sports podcast.
“It was a low point and also because it dragged on for so long. I remember coming off the ground during the Adelaide Test match and speaking to Cricket Australia officials about the case because the hearing was at the end of the Adelaide Test match.”
The incident led to Harbhajan getting a three-match ban from the International Cricket Council (ICC) following a hearing which consisted of Ponting, Matthew Hayden and Michael Clarke who testified in Symonds’ favour in a hearing after the match.
Sachin Tendulkar was the lone witness speaking in favour of Harbhajan as he was probably the closest person to hear what was going on between the mercurial Aussie and his teammate at the other end of the pitch.
“We all felt let down by the end result (of the Monkeygate controversy). The fact that it got in the way of the way we played our cricket for the next Test match was probably the most disappointing thing,” Ponting said.
“So we go over there and India at Perth is game we expect to win and then we lost the match and after that the next few days things just got worse and worse,” he added.
Australia had won the Sydney Test by 122 runs. However, in the next Test at the WACA, they had to face a crushing 72-run defeat. The last Test had ended in a draw and Australia won the four-match series 2-1.
Ponting-led Australia to 48 and 164 wins in 77 Tests and 228 ODIs, respectively.