Sydney, Jan 3: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni believes relations between India and Australian players are better than before but there is immense tension before the start of today's 100th SCG Test due to Team India's prolonged wait outside the gates of Kirribilli House before the official pre-match function.
Two of the best batsmen in the world, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid were made to stand outside the gates outside Prime Minister Julia Gillard's Sydney residence for 15 minutes on Sunday before finally being allowed inside.
A few senior members of the touring party were left furious about being made to wait outside in the heat. However, the Indians arrived early to meet Prime Minister Gillard but left immediately after speeches by Gillard, Australian captain Michael Clarke and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who replied "No comment" when questioned about yesterday's events.
Team India are trying to stay away from controversies following the "Monkeygate" scandal of the 2008 Sydney Test, and skipper Dhoni said yesterday the players had moved on from that infamous incident.
"Now you see less situations where you see two individuals or a few players having a fight or a verbal spat at each other," Dhoni said.
"Of course, a bit of chit-chat is good but what we have seen is the behaviour of players from both of the sides has improved over the years. Especially with IPL coming in we've played with quite a few Australian players that are part of our side and there are more at other franchises. So we know a bit more about them and that really helps."
The Indians arrived 15 minutes early at 1.45pm but the function was originally due to start at 2pm, then later delayed to 2.10pm.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard and staff were not ready and the room where Gillard was supposed to greet players was not fully prepared.
After waiting in the sun India coach Duncan Fletcher ordered his players back on the bus, parked outside the gate, before they were ultimately checked off and allowed through by security.
"This year, afternoon tea was scheduled to commence at 2.10pm," a spokesman for Gillard said. "The Indian team bus arrived somewhat before that time, and as soon as the Prime Minister was made aware she welcomed them to Kirribilli House."
During the speech Dhoni mentioned about the influence of IPL in building friendly relationship between Indian and Australian players but also made a point to mention that India's large support staff would have liked to have also been invited to Kirribilli House.
While the Indians left in a hurry, Clarke's team remained for a further hour, mingling with dignitaries and members of Gillard's cabinet such as Mark Arbib and Robert McClelland.
They also took up the Prime Minister's offer to see the gardens of Kirribilli House and also Admiralty House.
"They were remarkably relaxed," Cricket Australia's public affairs general manager Peter Young said.
"There are a lot of new guys and, as such, new player partners in the group and they were just blown away that the Prime Minister would invite them in there."