Only one side was prepared to give their version: Mike Procter on the infamous Monkeygate

Only one side was prepared to give their model: Mike Procter on the infamous Monkeygate

Among a number of wide-ranging points, Mike Procter, the match referee of the infamous Sydney Test out of which rose the Monkeygate, alleges that the Indian cricketers, particularly Sachin Tendulkar, weren’t forthcoming in the preliminary listening to, apart from narrating the scathing assault of the journalists and how he had to pay a silent worth for handing out a three-Test ban to Harbhajan Singh— one which was downgraded. Excerpts:

Much has been stated and written about the incident involving Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds, as a result of it was a private duel that had loads of historical past. Symonds had beforehand accused the Indian spinner of racial abuse in Mumbai, and they unsurprisingly didn’t have a lot time for one another. Of course, each players have been essential to their teams, particularly on this explicit match. Symonds’ century in the first innings had saved Australia’s blushes, and then transferred the strain on to India. Tendulkar, as he so typically did, answered the name for India, with an impressive century. Just when it appeared like he was working out of companions, Harbhajan caught round defiantly, mixing aggression with software. It was a terrific partnership, simply the sort that Australia didn’t need, however one that the match wanted.

I can nonetheless see Ricky Ponting bounding off the subject, and up the stairs in an actual hurry. This normally meant an injured finger or, extra doubtless, nature’s name can’t await the approaching tea break. But it was infinitely extra critical than that. Symonds, who had been fielding at mid-off with Brett Lee bowling, had exchanged phrases with Harbhajan at the non-striker’s finish, and he was adamant that the spinner had referred to as him a ‘monkey’.

It was an enormous allegation, given all the efforts that the ICC had undertaken to eradicate racism from the recreation, and encourage participation from all corners of the globe. Ponting ran straight into the residence dressing room, and knowledgeable the group supervisor. He got here throughout to me, and stated they totally meant on laying a cost, and that Symonds was very upset.

Neither one of the umpires had heard the dialog, and nor had Ponting. Tendulkar additionally hadn’t heard something, however Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden have been certain they’d heard it. Things have been escalating in a rush, however play resumed after tea, and the match unfolded into fairly a thriller, with Australia dramatically successful in the last over.

The listening to was set for the finish of play on day 5, and due to the seriousness of the state of affairs, India have been instructed that they might usher in a authorized consultant from Sydney or fly one in from India for help… One of the issues that all the time caught with me about the complete case was the lack of readiness concerning so many essential parts.

Firstly, we had a tape of the incident in query, however the sound had one way or the other disappeared. Given that the complete case rested on what had been stated, it was not the best begin. In our shortly assembled listening to venue, there was additionally no recording gadget, and even anybody taking down an official file. The last straw for me was in the enchantment listening to that adopted a number of days later, when the choose who overturned the choice admitted that he had not been given any paperwork concerning Harbhajan’s earlier misdemeanours – together with Mumbai – and went so far as saying that his choice would have been completely different if he had the full image.

I’m glad to say that issues have modified since then, and the legal guidelines pertaining to such incidents and hearings have since been modified. A listening to of such a critical nature can not be held by a match referee, however by an appointed authorized counsel, be it a QC or a choose appointed by the ICC. But we have been positively on the again foot in that sense. The ICC adopted English legislation, and so the listening to took the sample of a trial.


The formal proof began, with the umpires confirming Australia had to give their proof first, confirming that an incident had been reported to them on day three, by Ricky Ponting. The Aussie skipper was the first witness, and he stated that he had been instructed by his players that they’d heard Harbhajan calling Symonds a monkey.

The Indian supervisor, Chetan Chauhan, was then invited to ask Ponting any questions relating to the matter, which he duly did. His query was extra of an allegation, as he accused Australia of constructing up the entire racism incident, just because they needed Harbhajan off the tour, as a result of he stored getting Ponting out. The complete Australian celebration was shocked by the allegation, however Chetan was not executed simply but. He knowledgeable Ponting that the racism cost was utterly made up, as a result of as Indians, it was simply not doable for them to be racist.

I was staggered as a result of, in my world expertise, I had seen racism from all corners, no matter tradition. Australia had come to me with an allegation in opposition to India, and the visiting group had executed nothing to counter that critical allegation. My job was to rule on the matter given the proof supplied. On that depend, India’s silence left me with little or no selection. To throw out Australia’s cost on the assumptive grounds that it was inconceivable for India to be racist would have made a mockery of the complete listening to. I was merely doing my job to the better of my talents, and India by no means as soon as defended or defined what had occurred out in the center.

I didn’t fairly know the place he was headed subsequent, however Chetan then produced an album of photographs, with princes and princesses in regal gown, however with monkey heads. He stated that monkeys have been an Indian deity, additional reiterating their level that the complete episode had been made up, as a result of they wouldn’t need to insult monkeys.

Once the room had settled down from that opening salvo, Clarke and Hayden testified that they’d each heard the phrase stated. The cross-examination for each of them principally centred on the undeniable fact that they merely weren’t telling the reality. Gilchrist stated he hadn’t heard it, however went again to an incident in Mumbai, the place Harbhajan had referred to as Symonds a monkey, and apologised. The pair had shaken palms again then, and the matter was thought-about closed at that time. Harbhajan was then invited to give his proof, however Chetan, the group supervisor, responded by saying that his spinner wouldn’t be testifying, as a result of he didn’t communicate English.

For the second time, a number of folks in the room have been left completely astounded. Nigel Peters QC then stated we have been pleased for Harbhajan to give proof in his native tongue, and then get one of the current celebration to translate. Tendulkar, or Kumble and even Chetan himself all spoke excellent English – as did Harbhajan, or so I believed till the listening to. It was necessary for him to give some type of testimony, clearly. India have been adamant that he was not giving proof. I was no legislation knowledgeable, however the easy logic was that there was solely one side prepared to give their model of the story.

Nigel Peters QC additionally requested Sachin Tendulkar, who was the different batsman, if there was any probability that he had heard something. Tellingly, Tendulkar stated he couldn’t hear something from the place he was, and that was fairly comprehensible. The Sydney Cricket Ground holds over 40,000 folks, and it should be nearly inconceivable to hear one another out in the center with out shouting. If the umpire hadn’t heard it, there was each probability that Sachin hadn’t both. He solely walked in direction of his accomplice when he noticed that one thing was up. Tendulkar’s subsequent insistence – at the enchantment – that he had very clearly heard Harbhajan say ‘teri ma ki c***’, an abusive, however not racist, time period in Hindi, baffled everybody who was at the preliminary listening to.

Ricky Ponting stated as a lot in his autobiography a number of years later, sharing the astonishment that Tendulkar, one of the nice voices of world cricket, didn’t state this when first invited to achieve this throughout the listening to. It goes with out saying that his belated proof would have modified my judgement on the incident, given the plausibility of it.

The phrases ‘monkey’ and ‘ma ki’, heard 22 yards away, should sound very related, and that complete episode may have been a high-profile case of misplaced in translation. But Tendulkar by no means got here ahead with that model to us in the preliminary listening to, which left me with little or no selection. Australia had a number of witnesses, all of whom have been adamant that they’d heard it. We replayed the video to examine proximity, and on condition that they have been very shut to Harbhajan and Symonds, you couldn’t rule out that they might hear the dialog. After all, it was extremely unlikely that the pair would have been whispering to one another. India, on the different hand, provided completely nothing by way of proof.

Instead, they got here with allegations of a witch-hunt, together with that unbelievable evaluation that Ponting needed Harbhajan out of the sequence for his personal profit. They gave me completely no defence and, subsequently, little various when it got here to deciding on the matter. I went to the umpires’ room to contemplate my verdict. At the again of my thoughts, I assume I had been hoping that there can be affordable doubt that there had been any racial abuse concerned. However, Australia had a number of witnesses who have been adamant, and India gave nothing to refute the narrative. It was a weighty matter, and one that had critical implications. A participant had been accused of racial abuse, and a number of witnesses had confirmed that they’d heard it. The defendant, on this case, had merely shouldered arms. I had a job to do, however I may solely do it with the proof that had been put in entrance of me.

What actually confused me is why India have been going up to now out of their means to make issues troublesome. To say that Harbhajan didn’t communicate English already bordered on the farcical, however to then provide no counter-argument to the Aussies’ accusations was past perception. I couldn’t perceive it. If somebody accused me of something – particularly one thing as critical as racism – I’d get up and defend myself vehemently. Harbhajan merely stated nothing, and left me with little or no to work with. I sat for about half an hour, extra in confusion at India’s stance in the listening to. I referred to as in the choose to assist me draft my findings, and then we referred to as each events in.


The press have been scathing in their appraisal of the state of affairs. The late Peter Roebuck – a author who was revered worldwide – requested why the ICC had let Australia get away with performing like a pack of canines, and bemoaned us for focusing on a person (Harbhajan) who was feeding a household of 9 by way of the recreation. I felt that the press had obtained the flawed finish of the stick. In hindsight, I nearly want the information had been put out in public, to ensure that them to type an enlightened opinion on proceedings. I was later quoted as saying ‘only one team is telling the truth’, or phrases to that impact.

Though I can’t bear in mind saying these actual phrases, I can actually recall considering that solely one group was enjoying ball, if you’ll. India merely didn’t budge from their preliminary allegations to Ponting, and didn’t hassle producing any proof to defend Harbhajan, or at the least counter the allegations levelled in opposition to him Former Indian batsman Sunil Gavaskar, who I had thought-about a pal from our duels in our enjoying days, tore into me in the papers, too. He stated I was all the time going to go in opposition to the brown man, when he was up in opposition to the white man. I took that fairly personally, as a result of it was an enormous generalisation, and one that went in opposition to each little bit of my ethical fibre.

India moved on to Adelaide for the enchantment, and legend has it that they’d a non-public jet on standby, in case the enchantment went in opposition to them, too. The enchantment, chaired by Judge Hanson from New Zealand, decreed that the matter was a re-hearing, and solid apart what had occurred in the preliminary proceedings, deep into the Sydney night time. All our working round, getting ready a venue for the listening to, and then the hours and hours of deliberation, had immediately been diminished to being a footnote. It had been one of the most annoying nights of my life, and I distinctly bear in mind climbing into mattress simply as the solar was about to come up.

The entire ‘Monkeygate’ scandal began to make sense to me in the months and years that adopted, as I learnt that Cricket Australia had leant closely on the players to take the racism allegation away, and as an alternative make it a matter of abuse. The looming risk of India pulling out of the tour would have main repercussions for Cricket Australia, and a possible lawsuit from the large broadcasters.

That, to me, was unbelievable. How a nationwide board may strive to persuade senior players to downgrade an allegation as critical as racial abuse, so as to keep ties with one other board was mind-boggling, however it was the first time I realised simply how a lot of a stronghold India had on the recreation. I had all the time identified they have been the greatest market by way of followers and tv cash, however I clearly had no actual grasp of how a lot energy they exerted, even over conventional powers like Australia.

‘I think Cricket Australia was intimidated by the Indian Cricket Board,’ Symonds was later quoted as saying on the Cricinfo web site.

Even to me, it was fairly illuminating to see the lengths Cricket Australia went in direction of appeasing the Indian group and administration, when it was obvious that it was an Australian participant that had been wronged. Former captain, Allan Border, was additionally outspoken on the matter, in his e book, Cricket As I See it. Border was a board member at the time, and he stated ‘the matter never sat well’ with him. He felt that Cricket Australia let Symonds down, and the participant was by no means the identical afterwards. Border additionally criticised the undeniable fact that Cricket Australia and the ICC inspired players to report abuse, and then did nothing when these studies got here ahead. Incredibly, Andrew Symonds turned the fall man in a way. I actually didn’t assume he was an angel, however he was made to seem as if he wasn’t telling the reality.

The factor, I believe, that was grinding on me the most was the mendacity. Because the allegation was that this hadn’t occurred, and it had. Then the lies began, and then it turned political. The captain (Ricky Ponting) was made to appear like a idiot, and that ought to by no means have occurred, and the different players too. If reality, honesty and frequent sense had prevailed, then there’d have been a punishment for the participant. It would have been handled and there can be a precedent for the future,’ he stated in the identical Cricinfo interview.

Worse was to observe for the 2009 IPL, which was held in South Africa, due to the elections in India at the identical time. I had been despatched a contract to signal to be a match referee, and that was awaiting the accompanying signature of Lalit Modi. I had even been despatched the itinerary for the entire event, and I was wanting ahead to being concerned. And then, identical to that, the plug was pulled and there was completely no clarification. It didn’t take lengthy to determine that there should have been an eyebrow raised at MJ Procter being match referee after every little thing that had occurred in January 2008.

The complete episode left a really dangerous aftertaste, and I for one was not proud of the brush that I was tarred with. I nonetheless insist that I was simply doing my job at the finish of that chaotic New Year Test at the SCG, and I’ve been paying a silent worth ever since.

(The e book is co-authored by South African cricket author Lungani Zama and revealed by Pitch Publication.)

Never nice to be referred to as liar: Sachin

“I would like to state very clearly that the incident arose as a result of Andrew Symonds had been regularly making an attempt to provoke Bhajji and it was inevitable that the two would have an altercation sooner or later. While strolling up to Bhajji to strive to calm issues down, I heard him say ‘Teri maa ki’ (Your mom…) to Symonds…

The listening to was carried out fairly unusually, it appeared to me, with the Australians and Indians requested to testify individually, with out the different side being current in the room. This actually didn’t enhance the belief between the Indian and Australian players. I was the principal witness as a result of I was batting at the different finish from Bhajji and I recounted the incident to the match referee intimately…

I said precisely what I had heard and seen and additionally stated that I had taken exception to us being labelled liars by the match referee, Mike Procter, who had talked about in his assertion that ‘I believe one group is telling the truth.’ That he banned Bhajji for 3 Test matches appeared to us to present which group, in his opinion, was mendacity. It is rarely a nice factor to be referred to as a liar and I was extraordinarily indignant.

In the finish justice prevailed.”

—Excerpts from Sachin Tendulkar’s autobiography, ‘Playing it my way’

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