Melbourne, Dec 27: Almost three decades after the infamous walkout incident in the Melbourne Test which generated huge controversy, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar today regretted his act of dissent and said that it was a big mistake on his part.
In the 1981 series that had been dogged by some inconsistent umpiring, a Dennis Lillee in-cutter caught Gavaskar plumb in front and umpire Rex Whitehead, standing in just his third Test, raised the finger.
But Gavaskar, who thought that the ball had got his bat on the way to the pad, protested by standing his ground long enough. Gavaskar also slapped his pads with the bat, letting the umpire know about his anger.
As Gavaskar reluctantly started to leave, Lillee reportedly made one comment too many and the Indian snapped, returned to the crease and instructed fellow opener Chetan Chauhan to walk off the pitch with him.
A bemused Chauhan did as he was told, but at the boundary rope, the batsmen were met by team manager Shahid Durrani and Bapu Nadkarni, the assistant manager. Chauhan was persuaded to return to resume his innings, while Gavaskar walked into the pavilion.
"I regret the decision. It was a big mistake on my part. As Indian captain I was not supposed to act in that manner. In no way I can justify my act of defiance. Whether I was out or not, I should not have reacted that way," Gavaskar said during a tea-time chat show on Star Sports TV, with Sanjay Manjrekar and Kapil Dev. Gavaskar was commentating on the ongoing third Test between India and Australia in Melbourne.
"If the incident would have occurred in present times then I would have been fined," he added.