3) Monkey gate scandal
India toured Australia in 2007-08. After losing the first test comprehensively, the teams moved on to Sydney for the second match of the series.
Batting first Australia lost 6 wickets for 135 runs. With the score at 193, Australia’s last remaining specialist batsman, Andrew Symonds nicked Ishant Sharma to wicketkeeper MS Dhoni. Umpire Steve Bucknor ruled not out with Symonds going on to score a match defining century.
The Indians were understandably incensed as Bucknor had a history of giving poor decisions against India. However, the drama did not end there as throughout the match Bucknor and umpire Mark Benson made a number of crucial umpiring errors.
The Australians certainly did not help matters with their questionable appeals. The final count of wrong decisions against India were 10. Australia ended up picking a narrow victory with Michael Clarke picking up the final 3 wickets.
Later on it emerged that Symonds had made allegations of racial abuse against Harbhajan Singh. The accusation related to the usage of the word ‘monkey’ resulted in Harbhajan receiving a 3 match ban. This led to widespread outrage among the Indian cricket fraternity who were already aggravated by the happenings and outcome of the match. The Australian team were also criticized, even by their own former players, for their boorish attitude.
BCCI threatened to boycott the rest of the tour if the allegations of racial abuse were not withdrawn. Subsequently Harbhajan, and the Indian team management, revealed that he had used a Hindi abuse against Symonds sounding similar to ‘monkey’.
Due to pressure from BCCI, Bucknor was removed from officiating in the third test. Harbhajan’s ban was revoked and the tour continued. Later Harbhajan and Symonds became team mates for IPL side Mumbai Indians.