Among the many memories that pop out when one mentions the inaugural 2008 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is the rather bizarre controversy that erupted between India teammates S Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh. The pair, who was a part of the Indian team that had won the T20 World Cup just a year earlier and who would go on to form an integral part of the side that won the 2011 World Cup, had found themselves playing for different teams in the tournament, as was the case with most international level players.
The incident had come to line after Sreesanth was spotted crying on the field after a match between his Kings XI Punjab and Harbhajan’s Mumbai Indians. The scuffle even led to Harbhajan being banned from the remainder of the competition and Shaun Pollock taking over the captaincy of Mumbai Indians.
Harbhajan has since said that what he had done was wrong and he had caused embarrassment to his teammates. Now Sreesanth himself has said that he has always been friends with Harbhajan and is in fact thankful to the former spinner for supporting him right since the pacer’s days as a domestic player.
“We have always been friends. That was just a misunderstanding and the media made a big noise out of it. I will just say that Bhajji pa has supported me from the beginning in every way, including recently with commentary tips. He has supported me and helped me a lot and I am very thankful to him. There is that song, ‘Tere jaisa yaar kaha’, that is my relationship with him,” said Sreesanth on Sports Yaari.
Harbhajan had said last year that he regrets his action on that day. “What happened was wrong. I made a mistake. Because of me, my teammate had to face embarrassment. I was embarrassed. If I had to correct one mistake, it was how I treated Sreesanth on the field. It should not have happened. When I think about it, I feel there was no need,” Harbhajan said.
Harbhajan announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in December 2021 with 417 Test and 269 ODI wickets to his name. Sreesanth, on the other hand, retired from cricket in March earlier 2022. The fast bowler played 27 Tests, 53 ODIs and 10 T20Is in his international career picking up a total of 169 wickets across formats.