‘Symonds didn’t want to play the IPL due to his blowout with Harbhajan,’ Former Kings XI Punjab CEO reveals interesting story

Former Kings XI Punjab CEO has revealed that due to a fallout with Harbhajan Singh in the infamous Monkey Gate scandal, Andrew Symonds did not want to come to India to play the IPL.
Andrew Symonds and Harbhajan Singh were involved in the infamous Monkeygate scandal in 2008.(AP Photo)
Andrew Symonds and Harbhajan Singh were involved in the infamous Monkeygate scandal in 2008.(AP Photo)
Updated on Jun 11, 2020 07:57 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | Byhindustantimes.com | Edited by Aditya Bhattacharya

Former CEO of Kings XI Punjab Neil Maxwell has revealed how the first ever IPL was in danger of seeing no Australian participation. Maxwell, who is a cricket agent described that due to the controversy surrounding Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds because of the entire “Monkeygate” incident, the former allrounder was reluctant in coming to India to play in the first-ever IPL.

Besides, a number of Indian and international cricketers were jumping ships to play the rival ICL (Indian Cricket League) and Maxwell explained how after a lot of effort, was he able to convince Symonds and rest of the Australian players to participate in the auction process.

“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,” Maxwell said on The Top Order podcast. “He didn’t want to go at all, because he had that blowout with Harbhajan.

“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.”

Things finally worked for the best and Australia ended up playing the T20 league. In fact, Symonds, who had claimed that the entire episode that unfolded in Australia during the 2007-08 Border-Gavaskar Trophy shortened his international career, ended up being the costliest overseas player in the first-ever auction when he was signed by the Deccan Chargers for a price tag of Rs 10.2 crore.

“He was going to get that for six weeks guaranteed, and it could only go up. I remember trying to convince him that he needed to be part of this competition,” Maxwell said.

“Anyway, he reluctantly agreed, and 48 hours later, he had 1.2 million [$1.35m] a year for three years as a contract. You talk about transformation, that was transformation as they introduced the auction.”

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