Harbhajan casts shadow on SCG despite not being part of India squad

Jan 03, 2012, 15:00 IST | ANI

Australia's tormentor Harbhajan Singh's shadow looms large over the Sydney Test even in his absence, as he is out of the Indian squad due to injury followed by a bad form.

Harbhajan has been a dominant figure in the India-Australia rivalry since his hat-trick at Eden Gardens in 2001, and his hold over former captain Ricky Ponting, whom he dismissed 10 times in Tests.

But he was also a divisive figure for his part in the "Monkeygate" scandal that erupted at the SCG four years ago, and there is considerably less tension without him and the other protagonist from that ugly drama, Andrew Symonds.

Harbhajan insisted he had moved past "Monkeygate", and declined to answer when he was asked whether he would have behaved differently given his time again.

"Everyone has moved on from that incident except media. They use that moment as bait to fish for a juicy comment. But they forget we sportsmen don't live with the past � When two passionate sides playing for their country and pride are fighting with each other, things can happen. But if you keep clinging to those incidents you won''t go anywhere," Harbhajan said in response to emailed questions.

"Recently myself and 'Symmo' shared a same dressing room and didn't even had time to discuss Sydney. That clearly shows there is nothing. So it's high time media also behaves and stop digging out from the past to get some spice. It's not happening here, forget it," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Harbhajan also vowed to make a comeback in international cricket, if not in Australia like a true fighter.

"Obviously I am disappointed to miss out on such an important tour like this but [a] few things are beyond your control. And this is one of them. I have enjoyed playing against Australia and have some great memories. I love this part of the world and the passion with which the Aussies follow their cricket. I am recovering from a shin stress and not been bowling for a while. But I am working hard to regain my full fitness, and once I achieve that, I am sure I will be back in the mix again," he said.

Australian captain Michael Clarke said he respected Harbhajan but wasn't fussed about his absence.

"I've always enjoyed playing against Harbhajan, he's a tough competitor, he was a very good player and still is a very good player and I guess it's unfortunate for the Australian fans not to see him out here," Clarke said.

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