The Ponting v Gavaskar affair March 12, 2007

'Aussies could get whacked in a bar' - Gavaskar

Cricinfo staff

Sunil Gavaskar: not holding back his punches © Getty Images

Sunil Gavaskar delivered a strong retort in what was the latest in his joust with Australia's captain Ricky Ponting. In a scathing reaction, Gavaskar said a "hot-head guy" might actually whack the Australian cricketers if they dared replicate their on-field behaviour in a bar.

Last week Gavaskar called Australia's on-field behaviour "awful" in a column for India Today magazine. Ponting felt it was "high and mighty" of Gavaskar to complain, considering "the way India have played their cricket over the last few years".

"Some day, some other hot-head guy might actually get down and you know whack somebody who abuses him," Gavaskar said on ESPN. He cited the example of the former Australia cricketer David Hookes, who had been fatally beaten up outside a bar. "There's the example of the late David Hookes. Would the Australians who use that kind of language on the field, and not all of them do, in a bar and would they get away with it? Would they have a fist coming at their face or not?"

He also defended his decision to attempt a walk-off at the MCG in protest against an lbw decision in 1981, an incident Ponting alluded to. "The reason the walk off took place was simply because I was abused by the Australians," Gavaskar said. "Let me also come back to what he [Ponting] said about the way I played my cricket and I do not know what he's looking at.

"When he talks about the Indian team not having won matches, we are not talking about winning matches here, we are talking about behavior on the field," he said. He drew a comparison between the Australian and West Indian sides of the 1970s and '80s.

"The West Indians were popular winners, there was an affection about the West Indians players in spite of the fact that they were beating you in three days," he said. "They [West Indies] did not abuse the opponents. They did not have anything to say to the opponents. When they were dominating world cricket the West Indians did not resort to personal abuse on the field, they just played the game hard, they were very tough competitors but there was nothing untoward in their behaviour towards their opponents.

"West Indian players always had a smile on their face when they came in at the end of day's play to talk with you and to commiserate when you lost, you could see that there was no arrogance there. Cricket lovers all over the world wanted the West Indies teams to get back on their feet and start winning again."