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Indian cricket fraternity hits back

cricket Updated: Oct 24, 2008 17:31 IST

PTI
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Indian cricket establishment on Friday hit back at Gilchrist for questioning Sachin Tendulkar's honesty during the 'Monkeygate' scandal earlier this year, saying the former Australian vice-captain's uncharitable remarks were only a marketing gimmick to sale his book.

While Tendulkar himself refused to comment on Gilchrist's observations in his autobiography, former players and administrators sprung to the defense of the champion batsman by terming the remarks as "unfortunate and uncalled for".

In his autobiography 'True Colours' to be released next week, Gilchrist has hinted that Tendulkar was a sore loser and questioned his honesty in the racial row involving Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds that threatened to go out of hand during India's tour Down Under.

Gilchrist said Tendulkar had initially told the hearing that he could not hear what was said because he was "a fair way away". But during the appeal, which followed, Tendulkar said that Harbhajan used a Hindi term that sounded like "monkey" to Australian ears.

Former Indian Chief Selector Dilip Vengsarkar described Gilchrist's remarks as just a "marketing strategy".

"You have to write something sensational to sell a book. I think it's a marketing strategy that Adam Gilchrist has adopted. Very unfortunate, but a fact," Vengsarkar told a private TV Channel.

Tendulkar, however, refused to comment on the issue when his reaction was sought at a function to inaugurate Vengarkar's academy at Pimprichinwad, an industrial suburb of Pune.

Rajiv Shukla, Chairman of the BCCI Finance Committee, also took strong objection to Gilchrist's comments, saying the remarks were uncalled for.

"I think Mr Adam Gilchrist should think twice before making any observation about Mr (Sachin) Tendulkar," Shukla said.

"He is widely respected and now the kind of reputation he commands throughout the world, I don't think he will stoop to this level.

"So the observations made by Mr Gilchrist are uncalled for and I don't think he should comment on a person like Tendulkar in this language. I think it is better to ignore his remarks," he said.

VR Manohar, BCCI President Shashank Manohar's father and the lawyer who contested the Andrew Symonds-Harbhajan Singh case in Australia, also came in defence of Tendulkar.

"He was at the centre of the pitch where Tendulkar was the nearest man at the distance of one foot... As a matter of fact, witnesses like (Michael) Clark and (Matthew) Hayden, they have given, what you call as untrue versions, according to me, because they could not have heard.

"They were at such a long distance but they are supporting falsely these accusations. Whereas Tendulkar was the nearest man and it is only requiring common sense that the man nearest will hear the most and that has been accepted by the New Zealand High Court judge (who was heading the tribunal), he said.

Former Cricket Board secretary Niranjan Shah was also highly critical of Gilchrist and accused the wicket keeper-batsman of sensationalising the incidents during the ill-tempered Sydney Test.

"He wants to sensationalise the incidents to sell his book. As everyone knows everything was properly handled by the authorities with the appointment of proper men to conduct the hearing after a proper procedure was put in place," said Shah who was the secretary of the BCCI during that period in January.

"It was like a court hearing and the matter was settled properly. Everything was fine. After the matter is over, to claim these things in the book is nothing but foolishness," he added.

MV Sridhar, media manager of the Indian team during the Australian tour, also felt Gilchrist's remarks were a publicity gimmick, which was meant to trigger the sales of his book.

"It takes me by surprise and I am definitely disappointed that the person who has played cricket at the highest level and who has shown exemplary sportsman spirit, comes across and says this," Sridhar said.

"It is very disappointing and actually I think the timing is more to suit his own personal business interest and this is a point of autobiography and it is very clear that he wants it to be a selling proposition, rather than going about stating facts and in today's scenario you want sensational news to be read rather than stating the facts," he said.

"And what better than to write about the greatest player ever and I think it all falls into the place is that it is more of marketing proposition than cricketing proposition," he added.