'I will just say that…': Sreesanth opens up on relationship with Harbhajan Singh, years after 'Slapgate'
The "slapgate" incident involving Harbhajan Singh and Sreesanth took place during the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008. Harbhajan Singh, an experienced Indian cricketer, was representing the Mumbai Indians team, while Sreesanth was playing for the Kings XI Punjab.
During a match between the two teams, an altercation occurred between Harbhajan Singh and Sreesanth on the field. The exact details of the incident are not entirely clear, but it was reported that Sreesanth was seen visibly upset and in tears after the match. It was alleged that Harbhajan had slapped Sreesanth during the confrontation.
The incident generated a significant amount of controversy and media attention. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) took notice of the incident and initiated an inquiry. As a result of the investigation, Harbhajan Singh was initially banned for the remainder of the IPL season and fined a significant amount. However, after an appeal, his ban was reduced to just a fine.
The incident strained the relationship between the two players and remained a topic of discussion for quite some time. While both players continued their cricket careers, the slapgate incident remains a notable and controversial episode in the history of Indian cricket and the IPL.
The rather unusual argument that erupted between India teammates S Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh is one of the numerous memories that come to mind when one discusses the inaugural 2008 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The pair, who had been a part of the Indian team that had won the T20 World Cup just a year before and who would go on to form an integral part of the side that had won the 2011 World Cup, had found themselves playing for different teams in the tournament, as most international level players did.
Sreesanth was seen crying on the pitch following a match between his Kings XI Punjab and Harbhajan Singh's Mumbai Indians. The scuffle even resulted in Harbhajan being barred from the rest of the competition and Shaun Pollock taking over as Mumbai Indians captain.
Harbhajan has now admitted that what he did was inappropriate and that he had embarrassed his teammates. Now, Sreesanth has stated that he has always been friends with Harbhajan and is grateful to the former spinner for his support dating back to the pacer's days as a local player.
"We've always been close. That was merely a mistake, and the media made a huge deal out of it. I'll just add that Bhajji pa has always been there for me, especially recently with commenting tips. I am grateful to him for his encouragement and assistance. "There's that song 'Tere jaisa yaar kaha,' that's my relationship with him," Sreesanth explained on Sports Yaari.
Harbhajan expressed regret for his actions on that day last year. "What happened was incorrect. I made a blunder. My teammate had to suffer embarrassment as a result of my actions.
I felt humiliated. If I were to go back and fix one thing, it would be how I treated Sreesanth on the pitch. This should never have happened. "When I think about it, there was no need," Harbhajan explained.
Harbhajan Singh announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in December 2021, having taken 417 Test and 269 ODI wickets. Sreesanth, on the other hand, announced his retirement from cricket in March 2022. In his international career, the fast bowler appeared in 27 Tests, 53 ODIs, and 10 T20Is, taking 169 wickets in all.