Melbourne: Dec 24, 2011
Australian captain Michael Clarke has asked his teammates to play fair against India in the four-Test series starting Monday with the Boxing Day Test and warned of punishment if they don't.
Clarke said he wanted to avoid any bad blood between the two teams.
"Both teams understand where we are at, the relationship between the Australia team and the India team could not be stronger. We all understand there is a line you can go to but there is a line you can't cross," Clarke told reporters in the pre-match press conference here at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
"I can guarantee you that nobody in the Australian team will cross that and if they do, there will be punishments from the ICC but also from Cricket Australia," he sternly added.
"We will be doing everything in our power to play some really competitive, tough cricket. But we understand and acknowledge that we won't cross that line."
India's previous tour Down Under four years ago was marred by controversies with the "monkeygate" fiasco between Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds taking the centre stage.
Symonds and Singh have since happily played alongside each other in the Indian Premier League. Symonds has retired from international cricket and Singh wasn't selected for the current series.
"The relationship between the Australian players and the Indian players is very good and will continue to be that way," Clarke said.
"Both teams have a lot to play for. It has always been very competitive on the field but off the field both teams get on very well."
Talking about the great Sachin Tendulkar, Clarke hoped that the master blaster scores his much-awaited 100th hundred in his next series.
"Tendulkar scoring his 100th international ton is certainly a prospect. I hope that doesn't happen. I hope he scores it in his next series," said Clarke.
"He has been an unbelievable player for such a long period of time. I really enjoy watching him bat. If he does score the 100th century, he deserves every bit of credit and applause," he added. (IANS)