Memories of the controversial Sydney Test that threatened to derail India's tour of Australia earlier this year have been revived with Adam Gilchrist questioning Sachin Tendulkar's evidence in the Harbhajan Singh racism case in his soon-to-be-published autobiography.
Gilchrist called his evidence a "joke" and said when Tendulkar told the first hearing that he could not hear what Harbhajan said to Andrew Symonds, he was "certain he was telling the truth" because he was "a fair way away". But, Gilchrist added, during the appeal, Tendulkar said Harbhajan had used a Hindi word that sounded like monkey.
Harbhajan's three-Test ban for racial abuse of Andrew Symonds during the Sydney Test was overturned on appeal on the basis of oral evidence from Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Matthew Hayden and Tendulkar. Harbhajan had been earlier found guilty of the charge levelled by Ponting, who complained to the umpires that Harbhajan called Symonds a monkey. India threatened to boycott the tour if Harbhajan was found guilty of the racism charge but the tour went on after the appeal went in his favour.
"The Indians got him off the hook when they, of all people, should have been treating the matter of racial vilification with the utmost seriousness." Gilchrist said India's threat to boycott the tour was "a disgraceful act, holding the game to ransom unless they got their way".
Gilchrist also raised questions over Tendulkar's sportsmanship and said he was "hard to find for a changing-room handshake after we have beaten India". "Harbhajan can also be hard to find," he said. "I guess it's a case of different strokes for different folks."
Gilchrist said the Australians played hard and were quick to shake hands and leave it all on the field. Niranjan Shah, who was the BCCI secretary during the Sydney Test, said Gilchrist was looking for "cheap publicity" for his book.
"First of all, the matter is over now," Shah told Mid-Day, a Mumbai-based tabloid. "Since I was actively involved in the whole matter as the BCCI secretary, I have seen how neutrally the ICC has conducted the hearing. Despite all this, if Gilchrist feels otherwise, then rather than him questioning someone else's credentials, we should examine his credentials. By doing all this, he is doing nothing but getting his image tarnished."