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  Tuesday, 5 February, 2002, 16:12 GMT
Gavaskar pulls no punches
Sunil Gavaskar cats to India's current hero
Two Indian greats: Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar
By BBC Sport Online's Thrasy Petropoulos

He made more Test hundreds than any other player in history, and scored more runs than all but Allan Border, but Sunil Gavaskar is now becoming equally well know for his outspoken views on cricket.

England were accused of being "whiners" and "the most unattractive and boring side to have played cricket in India" in his Hindustan Times column.

But Gavaskar was no harder on Nasser Hussain's men than he has been on others.

Even as a player, he spoke out more than most, protesting in 1976 that the use of the West Indies pace attack by Clive Lloyd was "not great captaincy, it was barbarism."

Fans invade the pitch at Sabina Park
Gavaskar did not enjoy playing in Jamaica

He was later quoted as saying of that tour: "To call a crowd 'a crowd' in Jamaica is a misnomer. It should be called a mob - these people still belong to the jungles and forests instead of civilised societies."

A recurring theme during his writing career has been to defend his homeland against accusations of corruption and incompetence.

"Remember there are people overseas who are waiting for a chance to show India in a bad light as was sought to be done before both the 1987 and 1996 World Cups, but the near flawless organisation of those events shut them up," he once wrote in a column for thatscricket.com.

"It proved to them that a developing country could also organise big events and that efficiency is not restricted to the developed countries."

Certainly, there was admirable prescience in his comments on the same website immediately after the Centurion Test in January 2000 when Hansie Cronje controversially forfeited South Africa's second innings.

"England's victory in the Test match will no doubt make them feel that all is not lost with their cricket" he wrote.

England beat South Africa at Centurion
Darren Gough dismisses Cronje for nought

"The big discussion though would be about the forfeiting of the South African innings.

"If the same forfeiture of an innings had been made by a team from the sub-continent, there would have been a big uproar and shouts of the match being fixed would have come from the same media which will now heap kudos on Hansie Cronje for keeping the game alive and entertaining the public.

He added: "It is these double standards that are the problem and the sooner the so-called developed world realises that they do not have a monopoly on integrity, the better it will be."

Elsewhere, he has gone as far as to imply that an Australian umpire was biased against India.

"That Darrel Hair walked to mid-off to have a 'chat' with Ajit Agarkar after a leg before appeal was disallowed is laughable," he wrote.

"To try and browbeat a youngster like Agarkar into silence when players from his own country's team are allowed to get away is a sure indication that if Hair is to officiate in the Test matches there will be a hard time for the Indians."

And he openly backed Sourav Ganguly when the Australia media criticised the India captain's "gamesmanship" last year.

Ganguly takes a wicket
Ganguly did not see eye to eye with Steve Waugh

"The Indian skipper Ganguly owes an explanation to nobody least of all the overseas media whose temerity in suggesting that he is rude should be laughed at," he said.

"Imagine calling Ganguly rude just because he kept the opposite captain waiting.

"Then what about all the verbals that the opposition bowlers have indulged in. Go on Soaurav, just ignore the biased ignoramuses and lead India to victory in Goa."

And Gavaskar has been no less aggressive in his commentary on domestic matters.

He once wrote of India's selection policy: "Unfortunately, the cheapening of the India cap which in recent years has been handed out to all and sundry has taken away from the pride of playing for the country, taken away from the feeling of being the lucky, select chosen eleven in a country of one billion."

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