Indian cricket officials slammed Friday comments by Australian star Adam Gilchrist against Sachin Tendulkar in a new book as tensions brewed ahead of the third Test between India and Australia.
The World Cup-winning wicketkeeper-batsman, who retired from the game earlier this year, said in his autobiography that Tendulkar was "hard to find for a changing room handshake after we have beaten India".
Gilchrist also questioned Tendulkar's honesty throughout the acrimonious Harbhajan Singh-Andrew Symonds incident which occurred during the Test series between the two cricketing powers in Australia last summer.
Australia claimed Harbhajan called him a monkey during a match but an independent tribunal later cleared the India off-spinner of the racial charge.
Former national selector Dilip Vengsarkar branded Gilchrist's comments a gimmick to sell the book, which is set to be released next week.
"It is very unfortunate that Gilchrist has made such comments," he told CNN-IBN newschannel.
"You get a lot of money to write a book in Australia and England. But you have to write something sensational to sell your book. It is a marketing strategy to sell his book," said the former Test batsman.
The Indian cricket board said Gilchrist's comments were off the mark.
"Gilchrist should have thought twice before making such comments about Tendulkar, who is a great batsman and widely respected all over the cricketing world," the board's media committee chairman Rajiv Shukla said.
"If there is any person who will lose respect after this incident it is Gilchrist himself."
Tendulkar has so far refused to comment on the book.
Gilchrist's autobiography, extracts of which will be printed in this weekend's press, centres on the hostilities between the two teams in Australia last summer, which saw India threaten to boycott the tour.
The book is bound to ruffle a few feathers with the teams seeking supremacy in the ongoing four-Test series which the Australians currently trail 1-0.
The series has been peppered with verbal sparring, culminating in Indian paceman Zaheer Khan being fined 80 percent of his match fee for his reaction to Matthew Hayden's dismissal in the second Test in Mohali earlier this week.
Hayden said it was intense competition between the two sides that sparked the tension. "We always have some tension," he told reporters Thursday.
"That is exactly why we want to see our athletes playing the game. That tension is mounted over five days, mounted over a window of 13 days, in so far as what we have seen in these two Test matches.
"That is why I also, as a spectator, want to see that ability to gnash teeth. I want to see that competitive edge. Two hungry dogs, if you can use the metaphor, that circle each other in a ring."
The third Test begins here on October 29 followed by the fourth and final in Nagpur from November 6-10.