The Sydney Test between India and Australia in 2008 is remembered mostly for the ‘Monkeygate’ scandal, wherein Harbhajan Singh was accused of hurling racist abuse towards Andrew Symonds and the issue even led to a hearing taking place. However, the Test match was a fiercely competitive one that led to a lot of tempers flaring, something that wasn’t helped by poor umpiring on a number of occasions, something most fans see as one of the reasons that Australia would eventually go on to win the match. There was even talk of the series being boycotted but cooler heads prevailed and it didn’t come to that.
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Former India cricketer VVS Laxman, who was part of the squad during that infamous tour, has now said that the Monkeygate issue was ‘blown out of proportion’ and that it was the right decision to carry on with the series.
“The Monkeygate issue was blown out of proportion. At one time we thought we will call off the series,” Laxman said on Star Sports show Cricket Connected.
“Anil as the captain acted like a diplomat. I think the BCCI ultimately made the right decision and we continued with the series,” he added.
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Laxman rued the fact that India could not go on to win the Test despite coming into the game on the back of a defeat in Melbourne, something he believes was down mostly to poor umpiring.
“I wouldn’t call it the Aussie arrogance. But I just feel after losing the Melbourne Test we had a great chance of winning the Sydney Test match. Yes, it will be remembered more for the Monkeygate but I thought we had a great chance of winning that Test match,” Laxman said.
“The bowlers, especially when we started bowling in the first innings took early wickets. Australia were under pressure and then Andrew Symonds, I think he was out two or three times and the umpires made huge blunders. I cannot ever forget the way I think RP Singh got the nick of Symonds,” added Laxman.
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“There was a big sound but the umpire ruled not out. Unfortunately, that led to Andrew Symonds getting a big hundred and after that what followed, especially on the last day, the way Sourav and Rahul were out I think was in very poor taste,” he signed off.