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'Literally begged judge to not ban Harbhajan': Sreesanth opens up on 'slapgate' incident

Sreesanth opened up on the infamous 'slapgate' incident, which took place in the inaugural season of the IPL.

India TV Sports Desk Written by: India TV Sports Desk
New Delhi Published on: June 26, 2020 20:35 IST
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Sreesanth opened up on the infamous 'slapgate' incident, which took place in the inaugural season of the IPL.

Sreesanth has had a fair share of controversies during his cricketing career. Even before he was banned for life (later reduced to seven years) for alleged role in spot-fixing during the Indian Premier League, the Indian speedster was involved in multiple controversies on-and-off the field.

One such incident took place in the inaugural season of the IPL, when Kings XI Punjab took on Mumbai Indians. Things took an ugly turn between Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh after the end of the match, with the latter slapping the Indian pacer.

Sreesanth opened up on the incident during a conversation with Cricket Addictor on Facebook. 

“It was a one-off incident. I have told in Bigg Boss [television show] also, it was the first time I opened up and spoke. Obviously, I irritate in that sense when I bat or bowl, you can see. For me, it’s war, it still is –  if you’re playing against Australia or any other team for that matter, you give your very best, doesn’t matter who you’re playing against," said Sreesanth,

“The IPL was happening in the first year, it was the third or fourth match or something, and obviously I went after everybody. Bhajji [Harbhajan] got out off the first ball to Irfan Pathan. 

"Mazaak mazaak mein [Jokingly] I used to tell him in the dressing room Punjab Bombay ko harayenge, Punjab Bombay ko Harayenge” [Punjab will beat Mumbai]. It was a kiddish thing that I used to do, but maybe at that time, Harbhajan was completely different." (ALSO READ: Ganguly-Dravid partnership important for Indian cricket's future: Laxman)

Sreesanth further revealed that Sachin Tendulkar talked sense to the duo after the incident.

“On the same night itself, it was all sorted,” Sreesanth said. 

"It was all sorted and thanks to Sachin paaji (Sachin Tendulkar), who said, ‘You guys play in the same team’, I said, ‘Absolutely fine, I’ll go and meet him’. We met and had dinner the same night, but the media took it to the next level.”

Sreesanth further said that he "begged" the judge to not ban Harbhajan Singh for the incident, adding that the he is now in friendly terms with the spinner.

"And even in front of [Sudhir] Nanavati sir [the retired judge who headed the inquiry], they have the video clipping also, where I’m literally crying and begging and telling him not to ban or do anything with Bhajji, we are going to play together, I don’t want anything to be taken away from Bhajji, because he is a match-winner. (ALSO READ: Bhuvneshwar Kumar reveals 'turning point' of his career)

“But I’m absolutely fine with Bhajji [now]….he’s changed a lot. In public also, he has said ‘Sree tu kahi bhi ho yaar, maaf karde’ [Sreesanth, wherever you are, forgive me]. He was always my elder brother, maybe at that point of time it was different but he will always be a legend."

Harbhajan Singh and Sreesanth played together for India after the incident and also lifted the World Cup trophy in 2011.

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