The inaugural edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) could well have been played without the Australian names. The ‘Monkeygate’ scandal in India’s 2007-08 tour of Australia had somewhat ruptured the relations between the two cricket powerhouses. From Harbhajan Singh getting banned, a sanction that was lifted, to India threatening to boycott the tour, there was a lot of chaos.
Though the tour went on as scheduled, Andrew Symonds wasn’t keen on playing the IPL after his scuffle with Harbhajan at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Neil Maxwell, the former CEO of the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) made the revelations. It was ex IPL chief Lalit Modi, who urged him to convince the players.
“Lalit Modi asked me to convince the Australian players and the New Zealand players that they needed to come to the IPL, and not go to the ICL or, in Andrew Symonds’ case, not go at all. He didn’t want to go at all, because he had that blowout with Harbhajan,” Maxwell was quoted as saying on The Top Order Podcast.
Andrew Symonds the highest overseas pick in IPL 2008
“So, I had to work the Australian cricket team. I was working them all. I remember we’re putting contracts in front of them, and there was going to be a minimum amount, they were going to this thing called the auction.
“So, Andrew Symonds was going to get 200,000 USD minimum [$US 250,000]. And that was about an Australian Cricket contract [for a whole year] – he was on about 300, let’s say,” he added. Earlier, even Symonds admitted that the fiasco against India shortened his career.
In the end, the Aussies played the IPL, including Symonds, who was the costliest player back then. The Deccan Chargers, led by Adam Gilchrist, secured his services at a stunning INR 10.2 crores. He played only four games, but managed 161 runs at an average of 80.50.
His top score of 117* came against the Rajasthan Royals. Overall, the Queenslander played 39 games, scoring 974 runs with one century and five half-centuries and also picked up 20 wickets. He last played in the IPL, representing the Mumbai Indians against the Royals in 2011.
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