'IPL will mend ties between India, Oz'
Australian captain Ricky Ponting feels that the acrimony between his side and the Indians in the tour Down Under earlier this year had been blown out of proportion.
"A lot more was made of the last Australian series than I thought what happened," Ponting told newspersons in Kolkata on Saturday.
Ponting felt though there were misunderstandings between the players of the two teams, the matter was sorted out after the Sydney Test
"And the rest of the summer was really played in very good spirits," he said.
Ponting felt the Indian Premier League would help the Indian and Australian players to understand each other better.
"Some of the players we will be playing alongside are some of the players we played against a month ago. It is an opportunity for Australian and Indian players to understand and know each other better."
Ponting said his side would "sadly miss" Pakistani fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar, who is likely to miss IPL after being slapped a five-year ban by the Pakistan Cricket Board.
"He would have been a valuable acquisition for the team. I must admit his style of bowling in this format of the game would be sadly missed if he is not playing for us. But if that's the case we can't do much about it."
On playing only as a batsman and not as a captain in the IPL, he said, "I'm looking forward to playing cricket without having the responsibilities of captaincy on my shoulders. It will be a good opportunity for me to relax a little bit more and spend some more time with the young Indian players around the group."
Asked how he would feel playing under Sourav Ganguly, Ponting replied, "Sourav always did a great job when he was leading India. He's certainly one of the great players for India for a long time. And it will be interesting to see his style of leadership."
He said captaining an IPL side consisting of players from various countries would be a tough job.
"It might not be an easy job altogether. Captaining a mixed team comprising players from different countries will be hard thing to do. But then that's the challenge before the coach and Sourav over the next few weeks."
Praising young Ishant Sharma, he said the lanky fast bowler would serve India well in the years to come.
"He (Ishant) had a terrific tour of Australia. He improved incredibly right through the tour. And I think he will be a good bowler for India in the years to come."