Michael Clarke says Australia will not cross the line against India

The Australia captain Michael Clarke said his team will play hard against India but will make sure they do not cross the line in the four-Test series starting on Monday.

Clarke and India’s captain MS Dhoni had made it clear that they were anxious to avoid the bad blood, which marred India’s previous Test tour of Australia four years ago.

“Both teams understand where we’re at. I think the relationship between the Australia team and India team could not be stronger,” Clarke said.

“I think there’s a lot of friendships made there and we all understand there’s a line you can go to, but there’s a line you can’t cross.

“I can guarantee you that nobody in the Australian team will cross that and if they do, there’ll be punishments from the ICC but also from Cricket Australia.

“We’ll be doing everything in our power to play some really competitive, tough cricket. But we understand and acknowledge that we won’t cross that line.”

Harbhajan Singh was initially suspended for racial abuse after clashing with Australia’s Andrew Symonds during the Sydney Test of January 2008.

Amid reports that India would go home mid-tour, Singh’s suspension was overturned, he was found guilty of abuse and given a fine. Australia eventually won the series 2-1.

Symonds and Harbhajan have since played together in the Indian Premier League. Symonds has retired from international cricket and Singh wasn’t selected for this series.

Clarke said the Twenty20 tournament had allowed players from the two countries to form close friendships.

“I think the relationship between the Australian players and the Indian players is very good and will continue to be that way,” Clarke said.

“The IPL has played a big part because you get the opportunity to play with people from all around the world.

“In saying that, I think the series out on the field will be very competitive. Both teams want to win, both have a lot to play for and in my career it’s been no different against India. It’s always been very competitive on the field, but off the field both teams get on very well.”

Dhoni said the tourists would do their best to stay on the right side of the behavioural line.

“A few individuals did make mistakes at that point in time,” he said.

“It’s something that we don’t really want to do as professional cricketers.

“There’s a lot at stake. People look up to us.

“So we’ll try to keep it controversy-free. But still it’s important to make it interesting.

“Let’s hope for the best and hopefully there will be no controversies when it comes to this series.”

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