We should've called India's bluff during 'Monkeygate': Allan Border

We should've called India's bluff during 'Monkeygate': Allan Border

The furore over the infamous 'Monkeygate' episode refuses to die with former Australian captain Allan Border now saying that Cricket Australia should have called "India's bluff" instead of letting its own players down.

In his upcoming book 'Cricket As I See It', Border, Australia's 1987 World Cup winning captain, gave his version of the incident involving Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh and Australian batsman Andrew Symonds.

At the peak of the controversy during the 2007-08 series, India had threatened to pull out of the rubber if a three-match ban on Harbhajan was not lifted.

"I was on the Cricket Australia board at the time, and we ultimately accepted the ICC appeal finding and moved on, but it's never sat well with me. We hung Andrew Symonds out to dry and at the time I was annoyed about it. I thought 'This isn't right'. Obviously something happened out there," Border wrote in his book, excerpts of which has been released by 'foxsports.com.au'.

He added: "The realisation at board level was that we couldn't have India go home. But morally and ethically we should have called their bluff and hoped the global community would hold them to order...."

Border's book is releasing close on the heels of Sachin Tendulkar's autobiography 'Playing It My Way', in which the legend spoke about how they were on the verge of calling off the tour after Harbhajan was suspended on allegations of racial abuse.

"We were encouraging and the ICC was encouraging players to report racial slurs and vilification on the field, but when it actually happened, it went nowhere. It got ugly," Border writes.

Border initially wanted to back Symonds but then went with the board.

"I was torn. Initially, I was all for backing our players, but then the reality hit from a business point of view. We were told we'd have a massive financial hole if the Indians went home, and we couldn't afford it.

"Channel Nine as the broadcaster could sue us for not producing the days of cricket specified by the television-rights contract, and then we'd have to countersue India. India are all-powerful now, so we'd have had no chance.

"Once we were aware of the commercial realities, we knew we had to back down a bit. Andrew Symonds was aggrieved, and it affected him deeply. His cricket suffered from then on, and I think that was the start of it."

Border said that the 'Monkeygate' also "hastened his departure" from the cricket board.

"That incident also hastened my departure from the board a little. The backroom deals were done, and I was out of my depth. They made the commercial decision, not the ethical/moral decision. Would India have actually stayed or gone home if we'd stood up to them? If they'd gone home, we'd at least have had the moral high ground."

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