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Aussies hope IPL can mend ties
April 11, 2008 13:17 IST
Relations between the Indian and Australian cricket team, at an all time low after the acrimonious series Down Under, could be mended during the Indian Premier League, which will start on April 18.
The four-match Test series was marred by a bitter racism row and poor on-field behaviour as well as "obnoxious" comments off it.
Skipper Ricky Ponting [Images], Andrew Symonds [Images], Matthew Hayden [Images] and Brett Lee [Images] are among a large group of Australians spread across the eight franchises in the cash rich Indian Premier League and it is hoped that the Aussies could regain their lost popularity in India.
Player agent Neil Maxwell has asked the Australians to bridge the gap with the Indians.
"If the players are smart, and already I've seen Matthew Hayden extend an olive branch, they'll use this opportunity to be embraced by their local community and then be appreciated by the broader cricket audience in India," Maxwell told Australian newspaper The Age.
"There's definitely a level of negativity towards Australian players en masse, but there's an opportunity for Cricket Australia to do something about it, and they need to use this opportunity to build or enhance their brand image during this tournament," he said.
CA chief executive James Sutherland said "The potential is there once they all get together and communicate and understand each other better, it can break down a whole lot of those issues.
"It takes willing parties to do that and I would be very optimistic that our players would be wanting to take that approach."
Former Australian coach John Buchanan, who will coach the Kolkata Knight Riders franchise, said playing alongside players from different countries would clear misconceptions.
"Players will get to know each other better," he said, adding: "That will mean there will be a greater understanding of how Australians play the game, how Indians, how Pakistanis, how South Africans play the game.
"The cultural mix is a huge plus for the game worldwide," he said.
Fast bowler Lee said the chance to play alongside players from other countries attracted him to play in the IPL.
"People were saying that relationships between India and Australia weren't at their best this summer - which I don't really agree with. Yes, there was an incident here and there but everyone gets well off the field. But this is going to strengthen the ties between Australia and India," he said.
"If I'm playing alongside [S] Sreesanth [Images] and [Sri Lanka's [Images] Kumara] Sangakkara and [Mahela] Jayawardene it will give us a better understanding on how these guys go about their business. That's only got to improve relationships with every country," he added.