S Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh were involved in the ‘infamous slapgate incident’ in the first edition of the IPL in 2008. It was the first of numerous controversies surrounding the cash-rich league. 15 years later, the incident is very fresh in the memory of the two cricketers involved in it.
The incident came to light after Sreesanth was seen crying on the pitch after a match between his Kings XI Punjab and Harbhajan’s Mumbai Indians. The clash even led to Harbhajan being kicked out of the rest of the competition and Shaun Pollock taking over the captaincy of the Mumbai Indians.
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Harbhajan Singh in many of his previous interactions with the media admitted that everything he did at the time was wrong and embarrassed his teammates in the process. Noe for the first time, with many tears, S Sreesanth has shared his opinion on the incident. Sreesanth said that he is always grateful to the former Indian spinner for supporting him since his domestic days.
We have always been friends: S Sreesanth on Harbhajan Singh
“We have always been friends. That was just a misunderstanding and the media made a big noise about it. I will just say that Bhajji pa has supported me from the beginning in every way including recently with feedback tips. He has supported and helped me a lot and I am very grateful to him. There’s that song, ‘Tere jaisa yaar kaha’, that’s my relationship with him.” said Sreesanth on Sports Yaari.
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Harbhajan spoke about the incident last year, saying that he regrets everything he did in the heat of the moment. Furthermore, he admitted that it was one of the biggest mistakes of his career and, given the opportunity, he would like to go back in time and correct it if possible.
What happened was wrong: Harbhajan Singh in ‘Slapgate’ row
“What happened was wrong. I made a mistake. Because of me, my teammate had to face shame. He was embarrassed. If I had to correct one mistake, it was how I treated Sreesanth on the pitch. It shouldn’t have happened. When I think about it, I feel like there was no need.” Harbhajan said.
Both Harbhajan and Sreesanth were part of India’s 2007 and 2011 World Cup winning teams. Harbhajan went on to pick 417 Test and 269 ODI wickets before retiring from all forms of cricket in December 2021.
Sreesanth was one of the best exponents of swing bowling for India and when singing he was one of the most difficult bowlers to face. The fast bowler played 27 Tests, 53 ODIs and 10 T20Is in his international career taking a total of 169 wickets in all formats.
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