Symonds says there was no bad blood in the Test series before his spat with Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh.
Symonds revealed to the International Cricket Council last night that Harbhajan’s decision to pat Australian fast bowler Brett Lee on the bottom during play on Friday had sparked the racial furore.
When Symonds asked Harbhajan why he had done this, the Indian - then batting - allegedly called Symonds a “monkey”.
This eventually led to Harbhajan being reported for racial abuse by umpires Mark Benson and Steve Bucknor, and a closed hearing with match referee Mike Procter at the SCG after play last night.
Symonds detailed to Procter what he was barred from writing in his Sunday Herald Sun column by an ICC directive.
“This is what happened before our confrontation,” Symonds wrote.
“Brett Lee had just sent down a delivery and Harbhajan took off down the wicket.
“When he was returning to his crease, he decided to hit Brett on the backside. I have no idea why he did it.
“I was standing nearby and when I saw what happened, I thought, ‘Hold on, that’s not on’. I’m a firm believer in sticking up for your teammate so I stepped in and had a bit of a crack at Harbhajan, telling him exactly what I thought of his antics.
“He then had a shot back, which brings us to the situation we’re facing.”
Symonds, who had been at the centre of a racial storm during the one-day series in India in
October, said he was stunned by the incident.
“I must admit the incident was pretty surprising, because relations between the two sides so far have been very good,” he said.
“It’s been a series played in really good spirit. There’s been no sledging or bad blood.”
Last night’s hearing featured several witnesses, but neither umpire heard directly what was said and there was no stump microphone recording.
Harbhajan insisted on Friday he had said nothing wrong. It’s understood he maintained his innocence last night.
It’s believed Indian team manager Chetan Chauhan argued that Harbhajan had not crossed the line, and had only been guilty of swearing after “extreme provocation by some of the Australian players”.
Matthew Hayden and Michael Clarke were incensed on the field with Harbhajan’s response, and the pair were expected to appear as witnesses alongside skipper Ricky Ponting last night.
Hayden is understood to have approached Harbhajan and told him he had broken a pre-series pledge not to use the “monkey” gibe.
It’s believed Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan’s batting partner, then told the Aussies he would take care of the issue, but it didn’t end there.
Benson and Bucknor took charge, with the pair calling Harbhajan over for a talk. So sensitive was the conversation, Benson covered his mouth.
After play, Ponting demanded the umpires take action and reported Harbhajan.More on:Andrew Symonds, Australia, Harbhajan Singh, India, India in Australia 2007, Matthew Hayden, Mike Benson, Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar, Steve Bucknor
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