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IPL Will Help Smith Sort Out Differences With Kohli And Other Indian Players, Says Ricky Ponting

Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting is assured that the upcoming contest between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rising Pune Supergiants will not see any glimpses of the aftermath of the Border-Gavaskar series.

The upcoming contest, which is set to begin shortly, will see Virat Kohli and Steve Smith leading their sides against each other once again in the 16th match of the league stage at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.

As the two teams prepare for the battle, fans have already begun anticipating some heated eye to eye contacts between the skippers of both the franchise, who also were leading their respective sides in the Test series that concluded last month amidst high drama and controversies.

Ponting, however, has tried to contradict from the general perception and is confident the IPL will continue its role in increasing the bond between players regardless of the past incidents and cool any lingering tension between Indian and Australian players following their fiery four-match Test series.

“Kohli was the one who came out and said … things might be lingering on after the Test series, but we don’t know how Rahane and these guys are going to react to it. They might’ve had thought it was as big a deal for them as it was for Virat. Virat is a lot more emotional than a lot of the Indian players.

“Smithy will handle it fine. He’s known Ajinkya for a long time and has played with him for a long time. They’re big boys and they’ll sort it out.”

The final post-match conference of the match at Dharamsala saw Kohli remark that he no longer considers ‘few Aussies as friends’. But, call it ironic or something else, players from both the teams were brought together to play in the same franchise, thanks to IPL.

Rising Pune Supergiant brought Steve Smith and Indian vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane together. Glenn Maxwell is captaining Murali Vijay for Kings XI Punjab, David Warner is also leading Sunrisers Hyderabad which had Bhuvneshwar Kumar while Pat Cummins and Karun Nair also are fielding for Delhi Daredevils.

India’s skipper Virat Kohli is also playing alongside Shane Watson, Travis Head and Billy Stanlake for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

“I know (Kohli) has come out and said that he might not have any friends in Australian cricket anymore, but I’m sure those bridges can be mended over the next couple of months,” Ponting told cricket.com.au last week.

“He’s going to be sharing a change room with Shane Watson and a few other Australian players as well. I think that’s been one of the great things about the IPL. It’s been able to bring players from other countries a lot closer than ever before.”

Taking himself as an example, Ponting pointed out how bad blood between him and Harbhajan Singh was wiped off the equation when the duo became a part of the same franchise – Mumbai Indians.

The 2008 ‘Monkeygate’ saga badly quaked the cricketing relations between both the countries and still happens to be the worst Indo-Australia controversy on the cricket field. However, despite this, the two got along well and share a good bond now.

“I ended up coaching a team that had Harbhajan Singh in it and we never got on at all when we were playing against each other. But you find a way. If it’s all about your team having success, you can’t have those niggling things going on.

“I played a lot of series against India where things got a little bit heated on the field, but pretty much as soon as the series was over and we went back to play IPL or whatever the next series was, that was forgotten about.”

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