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Don't read too much into Gilchrist's comments - Renin Wilben column
by Renin Wilben
Oct 26, 2008
There has been a lot of furore since Adam Gilchrist's alleged remarks in his soon to be released autobiography over Sachin Tendulkar have been out. Gilchrist claimed that the little master was not honest during the controversial Sydney Test hearing. But one should not give too much leverage to the issue as it would do nothing but help the sales of the books. What the former Aussie stumper has written is his side of the story and he has every right to express his view. Indians do not need to overreact because by doing so we are giving undue importance to something very futile for us. And if we know Sachin well he himself would not bother to react to these allegations.

For a matter of fact, Australians are known to speak their mind and hence end up writing controversial stuff. Michael Slater in his book had claimed that Steve Waugh did not allow him to blossom completely and cut short his career. What a person writes is totally his own take on the issue and there is no reason to question it. After all it is his book and he has the freedom to write it the way he wants – more so if it is an Australian!

But Gilchrist is likely to get a lot of flak for his comments asking Indians to take up the matter of racial vilification seriously. According to him, India did not react in the right manner during the 'Monkeygate' scandal. But if you look back at the history of cricket in the last few years, it has always been an Australian who has been in the eye of the storm when it comes to delivering racial abuse. It was an Australian (Glenn McGrath) who called Sanath Jayasuriya a black monkey. It was an Australian (Darren Lehmann) who referred to Sri Lankans as Black S*** T*****. It was an Australian (Dean Jones) who, in a moment of excitement, referred to Hashim Amla as a terrorist. So Gilchrist won't find many on his side on this subject.

Another interesting observation he made was about the Indians not being sporty enough to shake the Australian players' hands after losing to them. Here again he was referring specifically to the Sydney Test. Everyone who saw how the game panned out will agree that no team in the situation would have been in a handshaking mood. What if Australia had been at the receiving end? And remember how Glenn McGrath went off the field after being given lbw in the famous 2001 Kolkata Test. His vigorous headshake almost meant he believed Indians can't umpire. While acknowledging that he must have been very disappointed, one has to understand that in such a situation often neither the batting nor bowling team is in a position for handshakes. One is celebrating an unexpected victory while the other is trying to recover from disbelief.

All said and done, Adam Gilchrist is a good bloke – one of the few cricketers who had no hassles being a walker. It is good to read that he has apologized to Tendulkar. And for the good of India-Australia relations, which is plunging to new lows reminiscent of the markets, one hopes that it will put a full stop to the matter.
 
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