Former India spinner Harbhajan Singh finally opened up on the infamous ‘slapgate’ incident, 14 years after the controversy erupted during the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008. The incident, during a match between the Mumbai Indians and the Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) at the IS Bindra PCA Stadium, Mohali, led to the spinner being suspended for the rest of the season.
Harbhajan’s career was defined by an aggressive streak, but it was never limited to his bowling. The ‘Turbanator’ always found himself in the thick of the action — be it during the ‘Monkeygate’ episode in Australia involving Andrew Symonds and Sachin Tendulkar, running on the ground with the Tricolour following the famous Perth victory in 2008, or slapping India teammate S Sreesanth on the field. The incident with Sreesanth left the speedster in tears.
Speaking during a promotional event, Harbhajan admitted what happened was wrong and accepted that he had made a mistake. He said his teammate faced embarrassment because of him and added that the incident caused him embarrassment as well.
Harbhajan added that if he could correct one mistake, it would be the way he treated Sreesanth on the field and said it should never have happened. He said when he thought about it, he felt there was no need for it.
Former India pacer Sreesanth also regretted the altercation with Harbhajan and felt it was his mistake as well. He said that he had learned a lot since then and the bond he had with Harbhajan had only grown since. The Kerala native said he was grateful for Harbhajan’s support and the advice he had offered to him since.
The slapgate controversy aside, the duo enjoyed successful careers together, winning the ICC T20 World Cup in 2007 and ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011.