In the wake of a spate of attacks on Indians in Australia, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Wednesday said his party will 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.