Sydney: In a virulent verbal attack on Indian cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar, an Australian newspaper on Monday slammed the batting maestro for backing his teammate Harbhajan Singh during the '2008 monkeygate scandal' here, saying some Aussie players lost respect for him after that.

"While the cricket world is abuzz with anticipation that the Little Master will score his 100th international century during the second Test in Sydney, beginning tomorrow, some recent Australian players have not forgiven his role in the Andrew Symonds 'Monkeygate' scandal," a newspaper said.

The writer goes on to state that the 'Monkeygate' scandal will forever haunt Tendulkar.

"...despite the unparalleled greatness of his achievements, some Australians lost respect for him when he gave completely different accounts of what took place as a key witness in the Harbhajan Singh-Andrew Symonds racism meltdown," he claimed.

The row escalated after Symonds accused Harbhajan of racially abusing him. Tendulkar was among the players, who appeared as witnesses in the case, and stated that the feisty off-spinner merely used a Hindi abuse which sounded like monkey.

Tendulkar's role had been criticised by former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, who in his book 'True Colours', described the appeal as a "joke".

The outrageous write-up was dismissed as merely an attempt to distract the Indians by cricket experts. Tendulkar is on the verge of getting his 100th international century and is widely respected by fans Down Under.

"I get along well with Malcolm Conn but I am delighted to disagree that Sydney 2008 represents a moment of shame for Tendulkar," tweeted noted commentator Harsha Bhogle.