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Thackeray Warns, Aus Team Would Not Be Allowed To Play In Maharashtra

PTI 13 Jan 2010, 12:53:39 IST

In the wake of attacks on Indians in Australia, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Wednesday said his party would not allow the Down Under team to play cricket in Maharashtra.  

Expressing anguish over the violence against Indians in Australia, Thackeray said, "Our boys are being stabbed, burnt and shot at in that country and still our cricketers have no qualms in playing with them. Do they have any national pride?"

In the Sena announcement banning Australian cricketers in Maharashtra, front-paged in the party mouthpiece 'Saamana', he recalled that his activists had taken a similar step against Pakistani cricketers who still cannot play in the state.  

The Sena supremo also had a word of praise for actor Amitabh Bachchan who, he said, displayed a patriotic spirit when he politely refused an award in his honour from Queensland University in protest against the incidents in Australia.  

"I would have been happy if our cricketers too had shown similar self-respect in the matter. But cricket has become a game of money and self-respect and patriotism have taken a back-seat," Thackeray commented. 

This is not the first time that the Sena chief has come out against Australian players. Last year, Thackeray had called for removal of Australian players from IPL teams as mark of protest over the attacks. 

"Two things should be done immediately. Captains of Australian companies who have invested in India should be summoned and told that the business atmosphere will not be conducive till the attacks stopped," Thackeray had said. 

"Australian players in IPL teams should be removed. Team owners like Vijay Mallya, Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta should display nationalism by doing so...no matter how big an Aussie player in IPL team is, he should removed and told that it is impossible to keep him in the team till the blood of innocent Indians is shed on his country's soil," the Sena chief had said. PTI