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I never called Procter a racist: Gavaskar

January 15, 2008 15:44 IST

Under-fire Indian batting great Sunil Gavaskar on Tuesday said he never called Mike Procter a racist and the word has been wrongly attributed to him in his column back home.

Gavaskar has been receiving mails and phone calls where critics have taken a shot at him on the basis of his column in which he came after Procter.

"Please do not go by the sensationalist headlines. I would ask my detractors to please read the piece carefully and tell me if I, personally, have called Mr Mike Procter a racist," says Gavaskar.

"That is a complete lie," he said ahead of the third Test beginningĀ in Perth on Wednesday.

All hell broke loose since Gavaskar's piece was published close on the heels of Procter's verdict against Harbhajan Singh for an alleged racist remark against Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds.

Harbhajan, on the basis of hearsay, was banned for three Test matches.

Gavaskar in his piece has wondered why the other umpire in the Sydney Test, Mark Benson of England, was spared the rod.

"I never called Procter a racist. People who say so haven't read the piece. It's the headlines which have been ascribed to me," Gavaskar said.

Former New Zealand captain John Reid said after criticising a Match Referee, Gavaskar has no business heading the ICC Cricket Committee.

South African great Barry Richards also criticised the former India captain, accusing him of playing the racism card.

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