Sydney:After experiencing a fortnight of glitz and glory in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Australian cricketers say playing on the same side with Indian players has helped mend strained relations.
"It's been an incredible experience. It's been one that's broken down the cultural barriers that perhaps existed through the course of this summer but also, more than anything, it's been a hell of a lot of fun to play in," Australia's star batsman Matthew Hayden, who played for Chennai Super Kings, told reporters in Brisbane.
After a summer of discontent which led to souring of ties between players from the two sides, Hayden was not having the last laugh at Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh's suspension for slapping India team mate S. Sreesanth.
"I think it was a pretty disappointing thing. I just think we've all tried to move on from anything to do with taking a backward step in the way last summer went on," Hayden said.
Hayden was charged with a breach of the Cricket Australia Code of Behaviour for calling the controversial spinner obnoxious little weed .
Earlier, Harbhajan was banned for three Tests after Australian players gave evidence that he called Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds a 'monkey' during the second Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground in early January. His charge was reduced on appeal.
As Australians switch to the Test mode, training at the Allan Border Field in Brisbane, Hayden said he needed to make "big adjustments" to be prepared for the West Indies tour that will have three Tests and five One-Day Internationals.
Besides Hayden, other Australians who played in the IPL include Ricky Ponting, Brett Lee, Nathan Bracken, Cameron White, Michael Hussey, Symonds and retired greats Glenn McGrath, Adam Gilchrist and spin wizard Shane Warne.
Australian opener Phil Jaques is also hoping to one day play for the glamorous competition. He told reporters: "I would have loved to be a part of it."