Kumble says he still respects Australian players

Canberra, Jan 9: Indian cricket captain Anil Kumble has moved to heal the rift between his side and the Australian team.

Speaking in Canberra ahead of a three-day tour match against an ACT XI, Kumble said he will sit down with Australian captain Ricky Ponting prior to the Perth Test to settle the differences between the two camps. Kumble denied there is animosity between the teams and said he is confident the remainder of the series will be played in the proper spirit of the game. "I think it's important to move on, cricket is larger than individuals and I respect that and it's important that we move on," he said.

"The focus for us is to ensure that we get the best possible out of this game."

Kumble admitted he was upset at some of the actions of Australia's players during the match but did not hold any grudges.

"It was only meant for the Sydney game," he said.

"I have great respect and regard for all the players who play for Australia."

Controversy has engulfed the Indian tour since Kumble accused the Australian team of playing outside the spirit of the game during the Test at the SCG.

The suspension of spinner Harbhajan Singh for racially abusing Andrew Symonds added to the tension, and a complaint from the Indian cricket board led to umpire Steve Bucknor being stood aside from the Perth Test.

Kumble says the Indian team was shocked at the Harbhajan charge.

"It's been tough, it's been very difficult because it's a very serious issue. But I think the entire team is together on this," he said.

The debate has drawn in commentators, former players and a even prominent sportsmen from outside the cricketing world.

Herb Elliott, Robert de Castella and John Bertrand have echoed the comments of the Indian cricket team, that Australia did not play in the spirit of the game.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland defended the Australian team, and says those critics of the team should have thought hard before they spoke out against the team.

"To some extent they owed Cricket Australia and Australian sport at least to make some enquiries to get some background, before they went out and made those comments."

OneIndia News

Story first published: Wednesday, January 9, 2008, 18:40 [IST]
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