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Now Gilchrist slams Ganguly, Harbhajan

October 31, 2008 12:21 IST

After hinting that Sachin Tendulkar [Images] was a sore loser, former Australian vice-captain Adam Gilchrist [Images] has taken a swipe at the then skipper Sourav Ganguly [Images] and spinner Harbhajan Singh [Images], suggesting that the duo had chickened out of their 2004 Nagpur Test fearing defeat on a grassy wicket.

"When I got to the middle, Ganguly was not there. Dravid was in his blazer, ready for the toss," Gilchrist wrote in his autobiography True colours.

"'Where's Sourav?, I said'. Rahul [Dravid] couldn't answer definitively; between the lines I perceived that Sourav might have pulled out from fear of losing a home series," said Gilchrist, who was a stand-by skipper in place of an injured Ricky Ponting [Images].

Gilchrist felt the hard green top in Nagpur could be the reason for off-spinner Harbhajan making himself unavailable for the match.

"Harbhajan was out of Nagpur Test with a 'flu', which he seemed to have contracted when he saw the grassy wicket.

"...I still don't know to this day what was wrong with Ganguly and Harbhajan," said Gilchrist.

One of the most successful wicket-keepers ever, Gilchrist, who is also known for his sportsman spirit, mentioned that speculation was rife that the hard green top was a result of Ganguly's quarrel with the head of local Vidarbha Cricket Association.

"There was speculation that Sourav Ganguly was quarrelling with the head of cricket in Nagpur and a rumour that a spicy pitch might be prepared out of spite or revenge against the captain," he said.

Gilchrist had implied that Tendulkar was a sore loser by questioning his honesty in the deposition on the racial row involving Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds [Images] that threatened to go out of hand during India's tour Down Under early this year.

Gilchrist said Tendulkar had initially told the hearing that he could not hear what was said because he was "a fair way away". But during the appeal which followed, Tendulkar said that Harbhajan used an Hindi term that sounded like "monkey" to Australian ears.

When the issue became a controversy last week, Gilchrist called up Tendulkar to clarify his stance, however, the Indian described the Australian's remarks in his book as "loose statement".

Gilchrist also accused Harbhajan of failing to keep his promise made to Ricky Ponting about not provoking the Australian players when 'Monkeygate' was still a burning issue.

Gilchrist said Harbhajan had apologised to Ponting after the offie had an exchange of words with Matthew Hayden [Images], who had told the offie that he had 'got no friends out here' during the Sydney Test.

"... I heard Harbhajan say to Ricky, 'Sorry, I apologise, it won't happen again'. The look on Harbhajan's face was telling. He looked like he was thinking, 'Oh, shit. What have I done here? They're all over me'.

"... Harbhajan had already apologised for doing it in India and promised not to do it again, but here he was, up to his old tricks. His promises meant little, and Ricky was reporting it to the match officials [during the second Test in Sydney)."

Complete coverage: Australia in India 2008

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