Veteran Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh, who played the first 10 Indian Premier League (IPL) seasons for the Mumbai Indians (MI), was guilty of slapping speedster Sreesanth in the inaugural edition of the tournament. The infamous episode took place after MI’s 66-run defeat against Yuvraj Singh’s Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) at the PCA Stadium in Mohali.
Subsequently, Harbhajan was suspended from the rest of the IPL season and Shaun Pollock was appointed as the skipper. Sreesanth was seen in tears following the incident. Going down the memory lane, Dominic Thornely, the New South Wales cricketer, who played only six games that season, said that Harbhajan regretted the behaviour with Sreesanth.
Thornely witnessed the occurring from the close distance and was a bit surprised as Harbhajan had assured of calming down.
‘I shouldn’t have done that’, Harbhajan Singh had said
“Harbhajan had just got dismissed and was very upset when he came and sat next to me in the dug-out. We were eight-down and about to lose by a big margin. I just told him it was too early in the tournament to get frustrated and that he as captain should remain upbeat.
“He looked at me and said that’s the right call and we should keep our calm and composure,” Thornley was quoted as saying in Sportscafe.
“Lo and behold, 5 minutes later, we’ve lost our last two wickets and the players are shaking hands. There’s a bit of a kerfuffle and the slap happens. I was 4 players behind them. And I was like how did that escalate so quickly? Harbhajan was upset later in the hotel and was like ‘I shouldn’t have done that’,” Thornley added.
In that game, the Mumbai team couldn’t chase down 183, being restricted to 116 for nine in their 20 overs. KXIP’s Kumar Sangakkara became the Player of the Match for his 56-ball 94 while batting at number three.
Harbhajan didn’t have the worst of days either on the field. He picked up the Sri Lankan duo of Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena apart from Piyush Chawla’s wicket in the death overs. With the bat, he couldn’t open his account after Irfan Pathan got him out LBW.
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