Former India Skipper Sunil Gavaskar in this file photo. -- Deccan Chronicle
Melbourne: Sunil Gavaskar has cleared the air on his infamous walkout incident during the Melbourne Test of 1981, saying it was the Australians telling him to "get lost" that made him walk off the pitch with his opening partner and not the leg before decision against him.
In the 1981 series that was 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 his 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.
The misconception is that I was upset at the lbw decision, Gavaskar told 7Cricket.
"Yes, it was upsetting. But the walk-off happened only because, as I had gone past Chetan (Chauhan) on the way to the change-rooms, the Australians had given me a spray. They told me to get lost, which is where I've come back and asked Chetan to walk off with me."
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 assistant manager Bapu Nadkarni.
I got an inside-edge as you can see from the forward short leg fielder. He hasn't done anything, he hasn't moved.
"Dennis (Lillee) is telling me, It hit you there,' and I'm trying to say, No I hit it.' And now you see, I've asked Chetan to walk off with me," said the former India captain while narrating the incident on the show.
In his earlier interviews, Gavaskar has said he regretted the decision to leave the field in such controversial manner.