Adam Gilchrist has told Sachin Tendulkar that his comments questioning Tendulkar's evidence in the Harbhajan Singh racism case had been taken out of context. Excerpts from Gilchrist's new book, published in the Sydney Morning Herald, questioned Tendulkar's sporting spirit and his role in the hearings into the alleged racist remark made by Harbhajan. In True Colours, Gilchrist suggested Tendulkar had changed his statement.
"Gilchrist called me up and clarified this issue," Tendulkar told news channel Times Now. "He said his comments have been taken out of context." To another channel, IBN-Lokmat, Tendulkar defended himself against Gilchrist's remark that he was "hard to find for a changing-room handshake after we have beaten India".
"Before, during and after the match I don't like to enter the opposition dressing-room as it is not my culture," Tendulkar said. "But I have nothing against other cultures. I have never walked off a ground without shaking the opposition players' hands."
Indian cricket officials have already criticised Gilchrist for questioning Tendulkar's honesty. MV Sridhar, the Indian team manager on the tour, had added a twist to the saga by offering a different version to Gilchrist of what Tendulkar had said.
"During the hearing in front of Mike Procter, the match referee, during the Sydney Test, Tendulkar told him that he had heard some form of abuse," Sridhar told Cricinfo. "But Procter didn't probe any further and left matters at that. But subsequently in front of Justice Hansen, when both parties were cross-examined by legal counsel, Tendulkar said that he had heard Harbhajan say teri maa ki but clarified that it was an abbreviated form of an abuse."
Sridhar was present at both hearings after the Test, first with Procter and then with Justice John Hansen. Sridhar questioned the timing of Gilchrist's revelations and said he used the incident merely to get cheap publicity for his book.
"It is absurd that he [Gilchrist] is speaking after almost a year after the incident," he said. "It's just a cheap marketing gimmick to sell the book. Why did he try to go public now because he realised the importance of the moment like the India-Australia series which has gained Ashes-like proportions?"
He said he was surprised at how Symonds, who claimed he was racially abused by Harbhajan in Hindi, got away despite admitting that he was involved in a heated discussion with him. Symonds saw Harbhajan hitting Brett Lee on the backside so he stepped in and "had a bit of a crack at Harbhajan", telling him exactly what he thought of his antics. Harbhajan was initially banned for three Tests but his punishment was overturned on appeal.
BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla said the board would not pursue any action against Gilchrist. "I think it is better to ignore Gilchrist's comments," Shukla said. "The only one to lose respect will be him, not Tendulkar."
Niranjan Shah, the BCCI secretary at that time, felt Gilchrist only wanted to "sensationalise the incidents" to sell his book. "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. After the matter is over, to claim these things in the book is nothing but foolishness."