Sunil Gavaskar has apologised for the remark he made about David Hookes' death when criticising Australia's on-field behavior, saying the comment was "uncalled for and inappropriate". He did not, however, alter his claim that the Australian team would be more admired if they watched their manners during matches.
"I do regret it ... on the breakfast show I do with ESPN, I read out a statement regretting what I had said," Gavaskar told Melbourne radio station SEN. "On live television and radio, sometimes you respond on the spur of the moment with a remark that can cause hurt and pain to others.
"I realise and I accept that what I said was uncalled for and inappropriate. Having said that, I hope they [Hookes' family and friends] have the bigness of heart to forgive me for what I said about David Hookes."
On a television show last week, Gavaskar warned the Australians could get "whacked" in a bar if they operated the same way off the field as they did on it and his comments followed Ricky Ponting's complaint Gavaskar acted badly during his playing days. Allan Border , Darren Lehmann, Glenn McGrath and Brad Hodge all joined the backlash over Gavaskar's linking of Hookes' death to poor on-field behaviour.
Gavaskar said he had not spoken to Ponting since his comments about Hookes, but hoped to have a friendly chat with him. "I am not at loggerheads with Ricky Ponting, I admire him for his batting and for the way he has come back after the Ashes loss. Cricketers hardly ever hold too much against each other. I'm pretty certain the next time Ricky and I meet up, we'll be fine, we'll be able to shake hands, share a joke and carry on with our lives."
Gavaskar also addressed his earlier comments about the Australian team - that they were "not popular winners" because of sometimes "awful" on-field behaviour - which drew a sharp response from Ponting. "What I was trying to say, the West Indies in the 1970s and 80s ... they were winning just about everything, but they were universally admired," he said. "There are so many champions who are universally admired, like your Rod Laver, today there is Roger Federer. The Australian team can also be universally admired if they can only curb their behaviour on some occasions."