The recent Test series between India and Australia was marred by sledging, charges and counter charges, leaving fans and experts wondering whether the bad blood could spill over into the Indian Premier League.
India leg-spinner Amit Mishra is confident his Delhi Daredevils team mates, or those in the domestic or national set up, would prefer to go about their business quietly, but will definitely not take a back step if any Australian player or others sledge them.
Asked whether the IPL could see incidents like in the Test series or it would be a calm affair, the senior-most spinner in the Daredevils ranks laughed.
“How can I tell you this? Whatever happens, it takes place in the match. In my opinion, we always try our best to play cool cricket and concentrate on cricket. But the Indian team is such that if someone tell us something, we will not sit quietly,” he told team a news conference.
“We never start it, and nobody wants to do that. As far as possible, it is good to play cool cricket. But if someone says something inappropriate, we won’t sit quiet.”
Virat Kohli was the target of the Australia players and the country’s media. The India skipper ended the series by declaring that he would not have any friends in the Australia team. However, Kohli qualified his statement with a Twitter statement saying he only meant a couple of the Aussie players and that he still had friends in the opposition ranks.
While Kohli is nursing a right shoulder injury and will miss matches at least until mid-April, Mishra will run into former Australia all-rounder, Shane Watson, who will lead the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the opening game of Delhi Daredevils at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
The IPL too has witnessed some flare-ups down the years, although with every team a mix of different nationalities, tempers are expected to be kept in control. Barely 48 hours after Kohli’s statement against the Aussies after the final Test in Dharamsala, Ajinkya Rahane, who had stood in for Kohli as captain in that game, was at his diplomatic best as he spoke about the India-Australia rivalry while sharing the dais for Rising Pune Supergiant with new skipper, Steve Smith.
Rahane played down the bitterness during the Tests and even posed with the Aussie skipper, who was wearing a traditional Indian attire.