Melbourne, Oct 25: In an exclusive column for TOI, Adam Gilchrist clarifies his stand after a chat with Sachin Tendulkar.
There were headlines around the cricketing globe on Friday suggesting that I had accused Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar of being a bad sport and also that he had lied when giving evidence in the Harbhajan Singh racial vilification hearing earlier this year.
Neither of these accusations is true and I felt strongly enough on this to immediately ring Sachin once it was brought to my attention, to explain to him.
I am pleased to say that at the conclusion of our chat the same respect Sachin and I have always had for each other continues to exist. The headlines arose from the manner in which some journalists interpreted a couple of points I have made in an about-to-be released autobiography.
In the book, I mention that a cultural difference between our team and that of the Indians was the importance of shaking hands with the opposition after a loss. It's simply my thoughts and from my experiences it seemed that this routine wasn't as important to some oppositions as it was in Australia, where it is drilled into us from an early age.
I made the comment that Sachin and Harbhajan were sometimes not around to shake hands. Whether that is right or wrong is not my point. It was more the cultural differences I was trying to highlight, which it's fair to say, have been integral in most disputes or flare-ups between these two proud nations in the past.
Nowhere do I accuse Sachin of being a bad sport. With respect to the Harbhajan hearing, I obviously had to address it in the book as it was such a huge issue last summer and too big to ignore. That said, my only real reference to it was to recall the way the events unfolded from the initial hearing, the night the match finished, through to the final judicial hearing a few weeks later.
All I stated are the facts that everyone knows, that initially Sachin mentioned he wasn't sure what Harbhajan had said, then later confirmed his support when Harbhajan said he'd used a Hindi word in the heated exchange with Symonds. Nowhere do I accuse Sachin of lying. So to have spoken directly with Sachin about these matters was a great relief for me. I have always admired his amazing cricketing ability and have spoken regularly about how I believe he has set the finest example of how to handle fame and the extraordinary public profile that comes with being an Indian cricketing superstar.
I also feel that people who know me, or people who read the book in its entirety, will know only too well the sincere affection I have for India as a country and the very friendly, passionate people that live here.
I have always enjoyed touring here, and most importantly have many strong friendships in India. For those reasons and for my personal friendship with Sachin, I was most concerned that a few off-the-mark headlines and interpretations of my book could possibly sour those friendships.
Thankfully, that hasn't occurred and I look forward to visiting these shores both as a cricketer and personally, for many years to come.