Farokh Engineer slams Sreesanth for reopening 'slapgate' chapter

Apr 13, 2013, 12:48 IST | Clayton Murzello

Former India wicketkeeper, who was match referee when Harbhajan got physical in Mohali 2008, says there's no point opening the old wounds

Farokh EngineerIt will be unprofessional to talk about something that happened five years ago, so I am not going to reveal much.

As far as I am concerned, I made Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh shake hands and embrace each other for the sake of Indian cricket. I don’t know why Sreesanth is bringing up the issue now. What is he trying to prove? I just cannot understand this. It’s a joke. I feel it should stay buried.

Harbhajan Singh and Sreesanth
Harbhajan Singh and Sreesanth. Pic/AFP

A lot of water has flown under the bridge. What Sreesanth is trying to say that Harbhajan didn’t slap him (but manhandled him). They called it Slapgate, but who coined that phrase? It’s the media.

In 2008, the Australian media said this was typical Harbhajan, typical Indian way and we will sweep it under the carpet. And that got to me! Everything will NOT be swept under the carpet, I said as match referee and prompt action was taken. Didn’t Harbhajan get banned?

Look, if Gautam Gambhir and Virat Kohli wouldn’t have exchanged words on Thursday, none of this (Sreesanth hitting out) would have taken place today. I ask again, what was Sreesanth trying to prove?

As match referee, I handled this controversy most professionally. Everyone was happy -- BCCI, IPL and the players. Everybody complimented me for my handling of the situation. That’s why I was most disappointed when I was not asked to be match referee the following year.

Sreesanth and Harbhajan have a lot of cricket in them and this issue coming up again could sour things. I hope both play for India again and perform as creditably as they have done in the past. Some reckon I have been a part of Indian cricket’s best kept secret with me knowing exactly what happened between these two players at Mohali on April 25, 2008 and the fact that I have valid proof.

However, it is not something that I am proud of. Surely, there is no bravado in all this.

As told to Clayton Murzello

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