Sydney:Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has accused the Australian cricket team of hypocrisy after Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was handed out a three Test ban for allegedly making a racist jibe at Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds.
"Is it only when the Australians give it to somebody that what happens on the field, stays on the field?" Gavaskar fumed. "When they get it, has it got to be reported? It doesn't stay on the field."
Gavaskar, who has been commentating on Star Cricket and writing columns, was incensed at various decisions and made no effort to hide his anger at the poor umpiring.
Symonds claimed that the Indian off-spinner Harbhajan had called him a 'monkey' during play and captain Ricky Ponting brought the issue to the notice of the on-field umpires Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson.
Mike Proctor went on record saying the umpires didn't hear anything but still handed out the ban to Harbhajan, on the basis of the statements of two Australian players, Michael Clarke and Matthew Hayden.
The Australian media reported that Gavaskar asked: "This brings it to a very interesting situation. If the umpires haven't heard it, what has happened to the famous Australian way of saying what happens on the field, stays on the field?
"That is normally the situation. When there is something that happens on the field and has got nothing to do with racism - might have been a bit of a chirp - the Australians say: 'What has happened on the field, stays on the field - let's have a beer at the end of the day's play'.
"In this instance, if the umpires haven't heard anything, why isn't this particular line being used for this particular incident?" he added.
Cricket Australia Director and former captain Mark Taylor, one of the game's great diplomats, agreed with Gavaskar. He joined Gavaskar in saying Australia's behaviour would now be scrutinised more than ever.
"I think it's a very valid point. I think Ricky is opening up a Pandora's box in terms of this," he said.
"I mentioned a moment ago that the Australians play tough cricket. They make the odd chirp, so if this goes any further I am sure there will be times Ricky Ponting will be on the other side of the ledger."