There is no denying the fact that the Indian Premier League has been an extremely successful tournament, however, it is also true that over the years it has witnessed some disgraceful incidents on and off the field. The inaugural season of IPL in 2008 had one such high profile blemish.
The incident involved Mumbai Indians’ Harbhajan Singh hitting S Sreesanth, who was then playing for Kings XI Punjab, during the round of handshakes after the game between the two teams in Mohali. The incident itself was not shown on camera but Sreesanth was spotted in tears after that. Bhajji was banned for the rest of the tournament, while the Kerela pacer was let off with a warning. After the hearing by match referee Farokh Engineer, the then IPL chairman Lalit Modi said Engineer had found the offspinner’s attack to have been “totally unprovoked”.
In 2013, Sreesanth, who was then playing for Rajasthan Royals, alleged that the IPL withheld the “real video” of the infamous incident. In a series of tweets from his personal Twitter handle, Sreesanth said Harbhajan had not slapped him but was a “backstabbing person”, and he received “no support whatsoever” from “selfish” people involved in the issue even though they knew “it was not my fault”.
Harbhajan refused to comment on the issue when he was approached in Mumbai by the media. He was scared to speak out earlier, Sreesanth said, but now wants the “world to know what happened”. The truth would be revealed by the video he said, which was kept “in hiding” by the IPL. He said Sudhir Nanavati, the BCCI-appointed commissioner who investigated the incident, knew the truth. He also said the “incident was planned by a few”. However, the pacer did not reveal his version of events. Footage of this slap on the spirit of the game has never been shown to the public.