Monkeygate wasn’t about racial vilification of Andrew Symonds, says Michael Clarke

The former Australia captain spoke during the India launch of his autobiography 'My Story', in Kolkata on Tuesday.

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | Updated: March 15, 2017 10:53 am
michael clarke, michael clarke autobiography, steve smith controversy, DRS controversy, andrew symonds monkeygate, andrew symonds harbhajan singh controversy, australian cricket, BCCI, cricket news Michael clarke. (Source: AP)

Michael Clarke lauded the BCCI and Cricket Australia (CA) for drawing the line at the DRS-related controversy in the Bangalore Test and deciding to move on. “Whatever happened is in (the) previous Test match and it’s gone. They (India and Australia) come out in Ranchi, (so) that was very smart. (It) might have been the BCCI in communication with the CA putting an end to it – taking it no further. (It’s) fantastic to watch as a commentator, as a lover of the game. The series has been very exciting (so far). And it would be no different in Ranchi and Dharamsala. We wanted a competitive series. The decision was the right one for the game of cricket,” the former Australia captain said during the India launch of his autobiography, My Story, in Kolkata on Tuesday.

The controversy erupted after Australia skipper Steve Smith confessed about a “brain fade” as he looked up to the dressing room to take a call on reviewing his leg before decision in the second innings. The BCCI had lodged an official complaint to the ICC against Smith and non-striker Peter Handscomb but withdraw it following a meeting with the CA chief executive James Sutherland. At a press conference in Ranchi today, the Indian team head coach Anil Kumble expressed his happiness over “a mature call” taken by the two cricket boards.

The incident could have snowballed into a bigger controversy like the ‘Monkeygate’ that had put the 2007-08 India-Australia Test series Down Under in danger. Clarke wrote about it in his book as he thought Andrew Symonds shouldn’t have stretched the matter that far. “I would be very honest about where I saw the situation at the SCG at that time. I was close to Andrew Symonds. I asked him whether he was racially vilified. It was not about the racial vilification of Andrew. It should have ended right there,” he said.

Sourav Ganguly offered an interesting insight. “I can guarantee you that the Monkeygate will not have its true picture in the book. Because only a Sardarji would know what another Sardar was saying. You may call it Monkeygate, Hanumangate or whatever gate. I was standing next to Harbhajan Singh, when he was saying those words. I know exactly what he meant. Nevertheless, the incident was a bit more than just the word Monkeygate.”

Asked if the Virat Kohli and Co are lesser players against spin on turners compared to their predecessors, Clarke answered in the negative. “I don’t think so. They are good players of spin bowling. (They) didn’t play as well as they could (in the first two Tests). Those were tough batting wickets. And Nathan Lyon and Steve O’Keefe deserve a lot of credit. They used the conditions really well.” Clarke also hailed Kohli as a captain who “takes risk to win a game at any cost”.

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