India captain Anil Kumble has urged his side to “move on” from recent controversies with Australia and focus on matters on the pitch.
Relations between two of cricket’s powerhouses have become strained over a number of issues after an ill-tempered second Test in Sydney.
Chief among them is the suspension hanging over Harbhajan Singh after match referee Mike Procter found the spinner guilty of racially abusing Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds.
India are involved in a two-day tour match against an Australian Capital Territory XI at the Manuka Oval in Canberra before travelling to Perth for the third Test, which starts on January 16.
It is not yet clear whether Harbhajan’s appeal will take place before then, but Kumble wants his side to put the issue out of their minds.
“This was just a temporary setback and we need to move on - the game is bigger than the individual,” Kumble said.
“It's nice to be playing cricket again and I have no problems. The relationship between India and Australia has always been good.
“We are all equal partners to ensuring that cricket is played in the right spirit and, I'm sure moving forward, everybody will stick to that. On behalf of my team, I'm sure we'll play in the right spirit.
“I'm proud of the way Indian cricket teams have played over the years and we'll continue to do that.”
Many in the India camp were unhappy with the behaviour of the Australia players during the Sydney Test, with Kumble himself saying afterwards that “only one team was playing with the spirit of the game”.
He hopes that the focus on player behaviour will have a positive effect on the remainder of the series.
“It was not that the spirit of the game was attacked but the focus has been to ensure that better spirit prevails in the game,” he said.
“It (the comment on spirit of the game) was only meant for the Sydney game. I have great respect and regard for all the players who have played for Australia.”