The greatest thing that is surrounding the 2008 Monkeygate controversy is that there are so many contrasting versions of events, says former Australian Wicket keeper batsman Adam Gilchrist
Memories of the alleged racial slur directed at Andrew Symonds from Harbhajan Singh during the Sydney Test have been rehashed by Sachin Tendulkar in his autobiography, ‘Playing it my way’, which was released this week.
According to the retired Indian great, Harbhajan said ‘Teri maa ki’ (a northern Indian expression which means ‘Your mother’ …) to Symonds, rather than calling him a monkey.
During the inquiry Tendulkar stood by Singh, and the ICC overturned the spinner’s three-match suspension as a result.
Tendulkar also says Australian captain Ricky Ponting should have discussed the incident with India’s captain Anil Kumble before reporting the matter to match referee Mike Proctor.
But none of the revelations have surprised Gilchrist, who is himself promoting his new book ‘Adam Gilchrist: The man. The cricketer. The legend’.
“I haven’t read anything that is new or adds anything different to the many other various recollections,” Gilchrist told The Daily Telegraph.
“It’s quite interesting that between Sachin, Ricky, myself, Matthew Hayden, Anil Kumble — I don’t think any of us have recounted it with the same story. Who knows what happened out there?
“An autobiography is an individual’s recollection of an event or the journey and memories can give a different perspective or point of view, so there’s nothing in that little extract that I’ve read that really surprised me or is overly controversial. It’s his opinion and he’s absolutely earned the right to deliver that opinion.”
Gilchrist didn’t escape attack by Tendulkar either, with the little master accusing him of double standards and “unsportsmanlike conduct” in appealing for a catch that hadn’t touched Rahul Dravid’s bat.
But Gilchrist, who was famous for walking before waiting for the umpire’s decision if he felt he was outsays Tendulkar’s accusations don’t concern him and he still has the utmost respect for the batsman.
“I’m not overly bothered by anything that’s been said,” Gilchrist said.
“It’s his thoughts and opinions and it’s not something I’m as fussed by. There are always a few different sides to every story and he’s got his opportunity to express how he felt. There’s nothing in there that I find new or damaging to me.
“He is the best batsman that I played against and I think he’s just so highly respected by his sheer longevity, never mind that he’s so skilful and so determined and all that in a country that’s cricketing mad. The way he’s managed to handle that fame and fortune is quite admirable.”
The off-field book battle has set the tone for more tension when India visit this summer, but on the field Gilchrist is confident Australia will improve on their comprehensive series loss to Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.