New Delhi: IPL's top Australian imports Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden on Friday said they have no inhibitions of playing in India despite the Shiv Sena's threat of stopping the Aussies from taking part in the third edition of the tournament.
Speaking exclusively to IBN7, Chennai Super Kings' opener Hayden said that India was his 'second home'.
"I love playing in India. I have no problems or apprehensions whatsoever of playing there. I am also hurt by the attacks on Indian students but there is no as such hatred between the two communities in both countries. In fact, I see a relation of brotherhood between the two nations and cricket has played a big role," said the former Aussie opener.
Earlier, there were reports that Deccan Chargers captain Gilchrist may withdraw from the tournament due to security concerns. However, expressing the solidarity with Hayden, the wicketkeeper-batsman said that he has no worries over touring India for IPL 2010.
“I love playing in India. My manager’s quote has been misinterpreted and I am quite keen to play in India. The only time in my career I was apprehensive of playing in India was last year when Indian government didn’t guarantee our security and subsequently tournament was moved to South Africa,” said Gilchrist.
Incidentally, under Gilchirst’s leadership, the Deccan Chargers became Champions in the last IPL, played in South Africa and the former Aussie player said he is looking forward to repeat the success.
“I can’t speak for other players but I am sure to tour India in March for the IPL. I am confident of Mr. Modi and the IPL organizers. I have some fine memories of India and would like to extend that,” remarked Gilchrist.
India's political party Shiv Sena had threatened the Australian players of boycotting IPL games if they take part in the tournament after continous attacks on Indian students in Australia for the past few months.
Both Gilchrist and Hayden opined that cricket could play a key role in bridging the differences between the two nations.
"Cricket has always played a big role in bringing people closer in these two nations. It has always acted as a bridge and as a player I am happy to have played my part and keen to do so in future in every capacity," said Gilchrist.
Hayden expressed his concerns over the attack on the Indian students and appealled to bring a stop to the violence.
"Whatever has happened to the Indian students in Australia, I am deeply concerned. Before being an Australian or Indian, it's important for humanity to respect different cultures and communities," said Hayden.
The former Queensland also player said that he has huge respect for India and its people and he has been fortunate to be loved and respected so much.
Cricket Australia's spokesperson Peter Young too echoed Hayden's sentiments.
"As of now, we are not at all worried about playing in India. We have been touring India of late, a number of times. We have been fantastically taken care of there," said Young.
On being reminded that the Shiv Sena had in the past disrupted cricket matches in Mumbai and hence would they consider changing Mumbai as one of the venues for the IPL 2010, Young put on a brave face.
"The question doesn't arise. We have full confidence in the BCCI and IPL organisers. We will go by the way they guide us. As of now, there is no apprehension," said Young.