Gilchrist has tarnished his own image: Atapattu

Former SL skipper Marvan Atapattu hit back at Gilchrist, saying the Aussie's 'chucker' remarks about Muralitharan were just an attention seeking tactic.

updated: November 06, 2008 15:18 IST
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Former Sri Lankan skipper Marvan Atapattu on Thursday hit back at Adam Gilchrist, saying the Australian's "chucker" remarks about Muttiah Muralitharan were just an attention seeking tactic.

"I think this is an absurd thing to say. ICC did the right thing by supporting Murali and it was their decision. There was no pressure from the Sri Lankan Board nor did they threaten to give racial colour to the episode," Atapattu said.

Gilchrist, in his autobiography 'True Colours' said Muralitharan chucked the ball and alleged International Cricket Council protected him after Sri Lankan authorities interpreted questioning of his bowling action as a racial attack.

Atapattu said that by questioning credentials of players like Muralitharan and Sachin Tendulkar, Gilchrist had done no good to his own reputation.

"Everyone has his own opinion and is free to express it. But if someone says something bad about great players like Murali and Sachin (Tendulkar), it won't change anything. They are great players and have served the game well so one should not pay heed to something which is said deliberately just to draw attention," said the 37-year-old player, who is leading Delhi Giants ICL team.

"Why didn't he say all these things when he was playing for Australia. All his recent remarks have done no harm to any player rather he has harmed his own reputation," he added.

Asked about the future of young players who have been barred by their respective cricket boards for playing in the ICL, Atapattu said all the current great from different countries including Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly should come forward and give some words of encouragement to these youngsters.

"Most of the players idolise Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly and it would do wonders to their confidence if they get to hear something good about themselves from their heroes," said Atapattu.

He also said that media needed to play an active role in this and star cricketers won't refuse if they are asked by media to comment on ICL players.

"Media has been asking all the ICL players what they feel about IPL, but they have never bothered to ask the same from IPL players. We are waiting to hear it from them," he said.

On Sri Lanka cricket chairman Arjuna Ranatunga blaming the IPL for causing a loss of $3 million revenue to SLC due to the postponement of Sri Lanka's England tour next year and saying it was unfair that national boards don't benefit financially from the cash-rich Twenty20 tournament, Atapattu said, "Ranatunga is a straight-forward person.

"He speaks what he feels. I know him well and he is committed for the betterment of Sri Lankan cricket".