Sunil Gavaskar is a legend in world cricket. He is a stickler to his priniciples and he hardly backs down from a good fight. Was he not the same batsman who protested the ODI WC with an unbelievable 36* off a zillion balls in 1975. For crying out loud, he scored 700 runs in his debut test series against the West Indies attack and remained as one of the few batsmen that looked the fearsome four in their eyes during the west indies dream run in the 70s and 80s. He heads atleast a few powerful committees in the ICC today and is an influential figure across the globe. After his conquests on the field, war of words would seem like kids play to him.
Why his bio? I admire him more today than ever for standing up to the Aussies and dishing them the same stuff that the Aussies strutted for way too long. It started with his article in India Today where he stated that the Aussies were not 'popular winners' and they left a lot to be desired when it came to on-field etiquettes.
Like a true Aussie, Ricky Ponting did not back-off from a good fight and took a shot at Sunny's career and India's recent test record. He sounded a lot like Leo. F. Drummond from 'The Rainmaker'. In fact Ponting's retort can be equated to the slip in class of the hon. Drummond from the novel.
The Aussies do not take it well when it is dished to them. Did they not incessently complaint when Sourav Ganguly payed back in kind during the 2001 test series? Weren't the Aussies who pushed India's federal minister and Cricket board head - Sharad Pawar off the podium after the recent Championship trophy. Was it not Michael Slater who went after Venkataraghavan like a madman for not allowing a catch in a test match, when replays showed repeatedly that Slater did not make the catch. Ricky, the list is endless.
The best thing in the whole incident is that Sunny has not backed off - an uncommon trait for an Indian. He responded back to Ricky & the Aussies team and hinted to them that the famed WI team of the 70s and 80s did not require classless behavior on the field to win when Aussies incessently indulge in sledging. Because Ricky could not keep off from picking a fight, Sunny - rightly so - did even bring the sad David Hookes incident as an example of Aussie behavior. If Hookes incident does not put senses in Ponting's mind, i don't know what will.
Ricky, Gavaskar is a legend of the sport - listen to what he says. If you disagree, keep it private. As a cricketer, Gavaskar has earned the right to voice his opinion. You are not going to win media battles with him. Focus on the upcoming tournament.