G Rajaraman - Keep the Faith

Adam Gilchrist's apparent outburst against Sachin Tendulkar's honesty in his autobiography does not call for an outrage.

Thursday, October 23, 2021
The curious case of Gilly and Sachin

Adam Gilchrist's apparent outburst against Sachin Tendulkar's honesty in his autobiography True Colours does not call for an outrage. Tendulkar needs no character certificate from anyone, though he will realise that the problem of attracting the whole world's attention without incurring the ridicule of anyone has never yet been solved.

As for Gilchrist, he who had proposed India and Australia play a regular fixture on January 26 for the Waugh-Tendulkar Trophy, his attack on the world's highest run-getter may only be designed to help book sales. For someone who held the world in thrall with his batsmanship, Gilchrist will know that this is not a novel strategy.

Not too long ago, former Indian coach John Wright wrote in his book Indian Summers how Tendulkar had felt let down by Rahul Dravid when the acting captain declared India's innings closed in the Multan Test in 2004 when the little big man was 194 not out. He said that the team management had a hot potato on its hands and that he spent a sleepless night whereas captain Sourav Ganguly, who missed the Test because of an injury, was worried that the issue would snowball and end up dividing the team.

The key characters in the drama – Dravid, Tendulkar and Ganguly – all ignored Wright's claim, aware that the former New Zealand captain had raked the controversy up again with an eye on the market. Similarly, there is a good chance that Gilchrist – or is it his ghost? – has chosen to make unsavoury mention of Tendulkar to bolster the bottomline.

Lest I be accused of showing a bias, let me reproduce a couple of paragraphs from Justice John Hansen's decision after the hearing on January 30, 2008. Justice Hansen flew in from New Zealand to hear Harbhajan Singh's appeal against match referee Mike Procter's decision to ban the Indian off-spinner.

Let us take Para 17 first. "Mr Symonds accepted that Mr Tendulkar of all the participants was closest to Mr Singh. A viewing of the video shows that people were moving around but certainly Mr Tendulkar appears to have been closest to Mr Singh in the course of the heated exchange we are concerned with. Contrary to reports that Mr Tendulkar heard nothing, he told me he heard a heated exchange and wished to calm Mr Singh down. His evidence was that there was swearing between the two. It was initiated by Mr Symonds. That he did not hear the word "monkey" or "big monkey" but he did say he heard Mr Singh use a term in his native tongue "teri maki" which appears to be pronounced with a "n". He said this is a term that sounds like "monkey" and could be misinterpreted for it."

Again, let us consider Para 46 from Justice Hansen's decision. "Mr Procter also noted in his decision that he did not consider the umpires or Mr Tendulkar were in a position to hear the words. I have of course had the advantage of seeing extensive video footage which in fact establishes that Mr Tendulkar was within earshot and could have heard the words. Indeed, it is now clear Mr Tendulkar did hear the exchange but not the words alleged."

If Symonds – and, more importantly, Justice Hansen accepted that Tendulkar was closest to Harbhajan Singh, what is Gilchrist raking up now?

It will be interesting to see what he has to say about his own team-mates. For instance, he was complaining only recently about his own team-mates, former team-mates actually. He referred to his own philosophy of 'walking' and told an ABC-organised debate on sportsmanship that the (lack of) popularity of that within his teammates may be shown by the fact that since his retirement, they do not reply to any e-mails, phone calls or text messages.