Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds go back a long way. A lot was written and said about the infamous 'Monkeygate' episode, in which Harbhajan and Symonds were the central characters during India's tour to Australia in 2008 but not so much light was thrown on how the two cricketers forgot everything and became good friends later on. Symonds' stint with the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL) played a huge role in it.
Hours after Symonds died due to a car accident, a former Mumbai Indians player recollected a poignant incident during that 2011 season where both Harbhajan and the former Australia all-rounder let their hair down for the first time. The player said Harbhajan and Symonds hugged each other and also said 'sorry'.
"I think we were in Mohali for a match against Kings XI Punjab. We had an invite for a private party and it was one memorable night we had. Everyone was in high spirits and suddenly Harbhajan and Symonds both were seen hugging each other tightly and sobbing."
"It was a sight and both were so emotional, saying "sorry" to each other. It seemed as if both wanted to get rid of the burden that was there on their chest," the player told news agency PTI.
After representing the Deccan Chargers for three years, Symonds moved to the Mumbai Indians in 2011.
"While Bhajji and Symmo played against each other at the international level and in IPL but everyone was sceptical as to how they would adjust with such a history between them."When he was about to touch base with MI, everyone thought how we would need to handle him but he was an absolute delight around the group," the former MI player said.
In fact, Harbhajan was captaining MI in Champions League T20 that year and whenever the team was fielding, Symonds would refer to Harbhajan as "sir". "Sir, where do you want me to stand?" he would ask politely.
Post 2011, Harbhajan and Symonds' paths again crossed during the 2015 World Cup. While the tournament was being played in Australia, Harbhajan and Symonds did spend considerable time in Delhi for a private channel as both were roped in as experts. They in fact sat together and analysed India's semi-final against Australia at Sydney.