In a U-turn, Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray on Tuesday withdrew his opposition to Australian players' participation in the third edition of Indian Premier League cricket competition starting next month.
"It has become a crime to speak in favour of national pride. Then why do we oppose Australia and IPL?" Thackeray said in a statement issued late this evening.
Defending his earlier stand that Sena would oppose Australian players' participation in IPL 3 as a protest against the attacks on Indians there, he said "We opposed Australia for attacks on Indians in that country. However, Indian brothers living in Australia asked us to lift the ban as it would aggravate their problems."
Seeking to justify his U-turn, Thackeray said "if no one is bothered about the issue then why should we get into this?"
Thackeray's change of stand comes close on the heels of failure of his party's black flag protest against Rahul Gandhi's Mumbai visit and release of Shah Rukh Khan-starer "My Name is Khan" despite the party's warning to cinema halls not to screen the movie.
The change in Sena's stand on participation of Australian players in IPL came in the backdrop of a recent meeting between Thackeray and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Indian cricket board President Shashank Manohar.