India, Australia to improve relations: Madugalle

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Perth, Jan 14 (UNI) ICC chief match referee Ranjan Madugalle today said India and Australia have put the ill-feelings of Sydney Test behind and wish to continue cricket in the best possible spirit.

Madugalle was appointed as mediator by the ICC to improve the relations between the two sides which was maligned during the second Test.

Expressing his satisfaction, Madugalle said, ''I have met the two captains and the managers separately over the past couple of days and then I talked to the two captains together today.'' ''I am happy to say that both Ricky Ponting and Anil Kumble were extremely supportive in all dealings I have had with them and I am in no doubt they want to move forward and draw a line under what happened in the past couple of weeks,'' he asserted.

He said the two captains have assured him that both the teams will play the game in the best possible spirit.

''Ricky and Anil understand and agree that the interest of the game is paramount and that it should always be played in the correct spirit and with mutual respect between opponents,'' he said.

''The two captains know they are role models for millions of people and are aware of their responsibilities in projecting the game in a positive way.'' India captain Anil Kumble extended his helping hand and expressed his desire to move forward.

''I value the meeting with Ranjan and also the meeting with Ranjan and Ricky Ponting together. Both the meetings were in the best interests of the game and have strengthened my belief that the game is of paramount importance,'' said Kumble.

''We have agreed that we must uphold the interests of the game and it would be our collective responsibility to ensure that the game of cricket is played by both the teams, as role models of this glorious game of cricket,'' he added.

Meanwhile, Ponting endorsed Madugalle's sentiments saying ''I enjoyed a productive meeting which I had with Anil Kumble and Ranjan Madugalle in which we talked through all the issues thoroughly.

''I am convinced that both the teams can move into the next game clearly understanding the parameters under which the game should be played and the teams acknowledge that the game must be played in its true spirit,'' he added.

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