Mumbai: Former Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds, who was involved in an acrimonious spat with Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh after accusing the latter of racially abusing him, Tuesday said the controversy was a thing of the past and the duo are "good friends" now.
"Bhajji and I have talked about what had happened between us. We have sat down and worked out things. We get along well now. We party, socialize, we get sloshed. There are no hard feelings. It is always nice playing with him. That was a past and we have left it behind," the 36-year-old cricketer told reporters in an interview here.
"My equation with him is good. We are in touch with each other, we do exchange messages," said Symonds, who has become the second international celebrity to participate in the reality show `Bigg Boss`.
The Monkeygate scandal as it came to be known later had threatened to disrupt cricketing ties between India and Australia as Harbhajan was slapped with a three-match ban.
However, the ban was later lifted after the BCCI filed an appeal against the sentence. The racial abuse charge was also downgraded to only an abuse charge with Harbhajan being let off with a 50 percent match fees fine.
The duo later played together for IPL franchise Mumbai Indians earlier this year.
Asked whether he was entering the `Bigg Boss` house to clear the air, he said, "It has nothing to do with me taking up the show and trying to clear out things. I am not going on the show to prove anything about myself or anything. That episode is in the past. I am here for personal development and a learning experience."
Symonds said he took up the show as a challenge and to know more about India and its culture.
"I have been traveling to India for over 20 years. I find Indian culture very fascinating and I am here to learn more about it, be with the people. Though my Hindi is very poor I am willing to learn the language. Whenever I come here I get
little bit of the lingo and I think that will help me to some extent," he said.
Interestingly, Symonds has not seen the previous rushes of the show and does not know much about the contestants nor the star hosts - Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt.
"I have not seen any of the previous episodes because I don`t want to enter the house with a biased opinion about other contestants. I don`t know about them (Salman and Sanjay) until I read about them on the internet. I think one of them did a comedy film recently," he said.
The much-hyped reality show kick-started with Shakti Kapoor as the lone male contestant, along with 13 women. Symonds is the fourth male contestant to be on the show.
ctors Amar Upadhyay, Akashdeep Sehgal, Juhi Parmar, and Mahek Chahal, `Splitsvilla` winner Siddharth Bhardwaj model Shonali Nagrani, are the surviving contestants on the show.