New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh on Sunday was "shocked" to hear about the sudden demise of Australian legend Andrew Symonds. Harbhajan, a dear friend of Symonds, paid tribute to the 46-year-old and his family, saying he was "gone too soon".

"Shocked to hear about the sudden demise of Andrew Symonds. Gone too soon. Heartfelt condolences to the family and friends. Prayers for the departed soul," he tweeted.

Symonds, who lost his life in a car accident in Queensland on Saturday, and Harbhajan didn't have the best of the starts together and were involved in an ugly spat in 2008.

Symonds, during the second Test of the Border-Gavaskar trophy series that year, had accused Harbhajan of calling him a monkey after which the latter was handed a three-match ban by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Unhappy with the verdict, the Indian team protested against the ban and threatened to pull out of the tour after which another hearing was called by the Adelaide Federal Court. Later, Harbhajan's ban was overturned into a 50 per cent match fine.

This incident is famously known as the "Monkeygate affair".

"It was something that was uncalled for. Whatever happened during that day in Sydney shouldn’t have happened and also what it led to. It was really unnecessary. But forget about who said what. You and I both know truth has two sides," Harbhajan later told news agency PTI.

After this incident, no one would have thought that Harbhajan and Symonds would get along together. However, faith had other ideas after the Mumbai Indians (MI) picked Symonds for the 2011 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Harbhajan and Symonds then made up during that time. Later, Bhajji said initially he was shocked after the MI bought Symonds, but the Australian was a "different man" altogether in the IPL.

"When Mumbai picked him, the first thought that came to my mind was - ‘why did they pick him? How will we (me and Symonds) get along together?’ When he entered the MI dressing room, Andrew was a different man altogether. I thought he would some angry person and I feel he would have thought the same about me," he told Sportskeeda.

"In fact, we used to eat together and sit together at night. The controversy between me and Symonds was blown out of proportion by the media. When we met, we never felt that there was any such animosity between us," he added.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma