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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tendulkar is a bad sport: Gilly

Adam Gilchrist takes aim at India's finest in his new book, writes Glenn Jackson.
Tension … Adam Gilchrist and Sachin Tendulkar.

Former Australian vice-captain Adam Gilchrist is set to further inflame tensions between the two most powerful cricketing nations by questioning India's sportsmanship - singling out their greatest player, Sachin Tendulkar.

The retired wicketkeeper claimed the biggest difference between Australia and India was that his former teammates left hostilities on the field while many of their antagonists including Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh often snubbed their opponents.

The explosive claims in Gilchrist's autobiography, to be released next week, centre on the hostilities between the two cricketing powers last summer which escalated after the Indians claimed Australia had not played in the spirit of the game.

Gilchrist surprisingly hinted at tensions with Tendulkar, revealing he was "hard to find for a changing room handshake after we have beaten India", and questioned his honesty during the Monkeygate scandal.

He also continued the Australians' attack on off spinner Singh, who was accused of racism, and criticised both the Indian and Australian boards for their handling of the scandal, which he said drove "a stake through the entire summer".

Writing about the dramatic final moments of the SCG Test when the last two batsmen, Anil Kumble and Ishant Sharma, walked off without any Australians offering a handshake, Gilchrist said: "We went into the Indian changing room and shook hands.

"Not all their players could be found, which points to another subtle cultural difference. In the Australian mentality, we play it hard and are then quick to shake hands and leave it all on the field. Some of our opponents don't do it that way. Sachin Tendulkar, for instance, can be hard to find for a changing room handshake after we have beaten India. Harbhajan can also be hard to find.

"I guess it's a case of different strokes for different folks. But the criticism of us for not immediately shaking hands with Kumble and Sharma was unfair, and typified a moment when everything we did was wrong."

In his book True Colours, serialised in tomorrow's Good Weekend Magazine, Gilchrist also took aim at the Indian players and officials over the major scandal of the tour - Symonds's claims that Singh called him a monkey, which began after the off spinner patted Brett Lee on the backside as they passed mid-pitch.

Recalling the events of the day which seem to have tarnished the relationship between the nations, Gilchrist said: "The next thing I saw, Symo … said to Harbhajan something like, 'Don't touch him, you've got no friends out here."'

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