Monkeygate is the term that has defined the acrimonious cricketing relationship between India and Australia in the last decade. The controversy involving Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds erupted during the Sydney Test and threatened to derail the 2007-8 tour. Nine years on, in the Bangalore Test, it was less ‘Monkeygate’ and more ‘Monkey face’.
In Bangalore, Ishant Sharma made monkey faces at Steve Smith and Matt Renshaw while bowling, and it took the social media by storm. With Ishant’s contorted face going viral, it has prompted plenty of memes. It continued to strike a chord at the Ranchi Test.
On its Twitter timeline, the official handle of the BCCI shared a video in which a challenge was thrown up with the hashtag #IshantGameFace. It featured some of the commentators, who tried to mimic Ishant.
When Ishant came on to bowl, with Australia 124/3, the video cut to former India leg-spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan shaking his head vigorously. Then it was the turn of former Australia skipper Michael Clarke to put on his best Ishant face. Former Australia batsman Matthew Hayden stuck his tongue out and roared wildly while former pacer Brett Lee also indulged in some fun.
Ishant left everyone in splits after making a monkey face in his attempt to unsettle Australia skipper Steve Smith. The Indian pacer even left skipper Virat Kohli laughing with thousands in the M Chinnaswamy Stadium stands too in splits.
There was plenty of ‘monkey’ business in the Bangalore Test, but this India vs Australia series has also been ultra-competitive.