New Delhi, Dec 15 (IANS) Former Australia skipper Allan Border and current Australia coach Justin Langer have acknowledged the contribution of the Indian Premier League in breaking the ice between the Indian and Australian players and ensuring the game is played in the right spirit.
The two teams will take on each other in the four-Test series beginning Thursday at the Adelaide Oval.
The rivalry was always competitive but there was a clash of cultures earlier, Border acknowledged.
“I think Sunny (Sunil Gavaskar) talked about (in a media article) that there was always a little bit of clash, clash of cultures between Australians and Indians. We play the game a certain way, we are brought up to play the game in an aggressive manner. We use swear words a lot in our natural conversation without meaning anything by it. Whereas in India, sometimes the players used to take offence with the way we were,” Border told Indian reporters during a media interaction.
“That clash of cultures has been addressed in recent times because of the IPL. Because you have got Australians and South Africans and Indians, the different cultures playing in one franchise you get to know each other a lot better. The appreciation is what makes different people tick when you are in the same dressing room compared to opposing dressing rooms. I think that has helped the Indians and Australians and the way, the mannerisms out in the field. But don’t mistake the smiling assassins (Tim Paine’s Australians). They will be friendly alright but they will be keen to be the Australian boys because they really rate this series very highly,” added Border.
Langer said that the Test series is not a revenge for the 2018-19 series loss at home for Australia when he was asked if he considers this a revenge series.
“Revenge is not the word, good competitive cricket. There have been really pivotal moments in each of our cricket experience. I love the way the game is played. It (the limited-overs series) was played hard, no one could argue that it wasn’t exciting,” said the Australia head coach.
“It was played in the right spirit during the one-day contest, through theT20 contest and I hope that remains, we play tough cricket but in the spirit of the game. I think that is benefits of the IPL that the guys get to know each other well, there are good relationships and the game is played in good spirits,” he added.
Border however admitted the changing face of Indian cricket as represented by Virat Kohli. He built on Greg Chappell’s comments of Kohli being the most Australian non-Australian.
“We just love the way he plays cricket. You can see in his body language out on the ground. He lives and breathes every minute. He is out there, he just loves it. There is a bit more chat out on the ground. He talks to his own players and opposition. He is in the contest more so than the other Indian players we have seen in the past,” said Border before describing the new Indian cricketer.
“What we talk in this country is about the new Indian cricketer. He has got tattoes. Married to a Bollywood actress. He is a very feisty competitor and not to say that other Indians aren’t like that. But he just wears his heart on the sleeve. I suppose he tends to play cricket like some of us tend to. He is very much liked in these shores. He is a seriously good player — that is obviously there, but I like that passion he brings to the game,” added Border.