New Delhi:In a strong counter attack, Harbhajan Singh on Sunday lashed out at Adam Gilchrist, saying the retired Australian has lost his mental stability if he thought he had chickened out of any Test because of the nature of the pitch.
"Frankly, I think he has lost it (the stability of mind). Is it an honest comment about me? Even my bitterest critics have never accused me of chickening out of a contest," said Harbhajan over phone from his residence in Jalandhar where he is mourning the death of his maternal grandfather with his family.
Gilchrist, in his autobiography "True Colours" has said that Harbhajan had pulled out of the Nagpur Test of the 2004-05 series at the sight of the green wicket on offer. "Harbhajan was out of Nagpur Test with a 'flu', which he seemed to have contracted when he saw the grassy wicket," Gilchrist has written in his book.
"If this is how he feels, if this is the only way for him to sell his book, well good luck to him. I would have thought earning the respect of his peers ought to have been his priority," a peeved Harbhajan said.
"My only advice to Gilchrist is: please stick to your own mates if selling book alone is his priority. I am sure there would be lot more for him to bare. And all of it would be genuine rather than cooked-up facts," he said.
The fiesty off-spinner sought to rip apart the cloak of integrity and honesty which Gilchrist has covered himself with, further drummed up by Australian media who have accorded sanctity to it, passing it around as truth.
"The world talks about his integrity. The Australians keep talking about his spirit of play; how he walked whenever he believed he was out, without waiting for an umpire to lift his finger", Harbhajan said.
"Well, what about number of times he has claimed a catch when he clearly knows the bat hasn't nicked it or the catch hasn't been clean," said Harbhajan.
Gilchrist has made other mentions about Harbhajan in his book, raking up the Sydney Test incident and claiming how the look on the face of the fiery off-spinner conveyed that he was on the wrong.
Harbhajan cited a number of instances when he has bowled on grassy wickets and done well in his career: be it in New Zealand or in England or in South Africa for that matter. "You don't take nearly 300 wickets in Test cricket by being selective. I have been around for over 10 years: you don't last that long if your heart is not in the right place."
Harbhajan averages 24 for each of his wicket at Headingley, Leeds in England which enjoys a reputation of probably being the greenest of all turfs in cricketing world.
His performance in Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand is that of 19.00 per wicket.
In his book, Gilchrist had also called Sachin Tendulkar a 'bad sport' even though he called up the little master to clear the air.
Though Tendulkar acknowledged Gilchrist having called him up, he was not at all amused by the "loose statements" from the Australian.