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I wasn’t courting controversy: Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar insists he didn’t set out to court controversy with his autobiography which has caused a stir in Australia due to its perceived criticism of, among others, Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist.

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Cricket’s greatest run scorer held a press conference at Lord’s in London on Friday to promote his new book `Playing It My Way’.

“Certain statements that I’ve made in this book have made headlines but the idea was not to make headlines,” Tendulkar told reporters.

“The idea was to be able to pen down what has happened in my life and let people know about it.

“I’ve not tried to create controversies intentionally.”

In his autobiography, Tendulkar says the so-called Monkey incident in 2008 arose because Andrew Symonds continually provoked Harbhajan Singh.

He writes the alleged racial slur wouldn’t have been blown so out of proportion if Ponting had discussed the matter with the Indians before reporting it to match referee Mike Procter.

Tendulkar also states that Gilchrist – a player who prided himself on walking – appealed for a caught behind when Rahul Dravid’s bat “seemed to be a fair distance away from the ball” in the same Sydney Test.

But on Friday the Indian great denied he was having a crack at either Ponting or Gilchrist.

“I don’t think I’ve criticised them as such I’ve just stated certain questions which were not clear in my mind,” the 41-year-old said.

“I’ve always gone on record saying both Ponting and Gilchrist are one of the greatest players to have played the sport.

“It’s not about negatives, it’s about the whole picture, not just a couple of shots here and there.”

Some commentators in Australia have suggested the autobiography reveals a ruthless side to Tendulkar that was hidden beneath a saintly persona during his career.

But the former India captain explained at Lord’s that, in his playing days, he felt all his energy needed to be focused on scoring runs and winning matches.

“I honestly didn’t have time for anything else,” Tendulkar said.

“To respond to various retaliations – I had no time for that, I had no energy for that.

“But now my career is over, and I thought it was only fair that I brought this thing out and allow people to read what has happened in my life (and) to let them know what I’ve been through.”

Tendulkar, who retired last November after playing a record 200 Tests, said there was “nothing better” than winning the one-day World Cup in 2011.

He named Australia as one of the favourites for the 2015 tournament to be contested Down Under.

“I think there are a few competitive teams,” he said on Friday.

“Australia, South Africa, New Zealand as a dark horse and India. These four should be my semi-finalists.”