Sydney, Oct 7: Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting has said he was ‘dismayed’ at Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar’s ‘sudden recollections’ during the Andrew Symonds ‘Monkeygate’ scandal, which saved Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh from being suspended.
Singh was charged with racial abuse for allegedly calling Symonds a monkey during the 2008 Test against Australia, following which he was suspended for three Tests by match referee Mike Procter only to be cleared on appeal when Tendulkar suddenly changed his evidence.
According to News.com.au, Tendulkar was seen as a ‘key witness’ during the appeal over the incident, following which the judge stated that contrary to reports that Tendulkar heard nothing, the batting star said he had heard a heated exchange and wished to calm Singh down among the swearing, which was initiated by Symonds.
Stating that he was taken aback at Tendulkar’s ‘sudden recollections’, Ponting said that he could not understand why Tendulkar did not tell this to Procter in the first place and described fining Singh half his match his match fee for abuse as ‘absurd’, adding that the penalty was way less than what it should have been.
According to Ponting, even though the ‘Indian cricket juggernaut’ of the 21st century may be too influential to shake, there was a lot of hypocrisy about the ‘Monkeygate’ scandal given that Australia was criticised as a group after Darren Lehmann was suspended for a racist comment in the lead-up to the 2003 World Cup.
Ponting further said that the belief quickly spread the it was Australia, not Procter’s judgement, that provoked the trouble, as then-Indian captain Anil Kumble’s statement about ‘Australia playing outside the spirit of the game’ receiving much attention. (ANI)