Champion batsman Sachin Tendulkar on Thursday rated the current rivalry between India and Australia as bigger than that of the traditional one between India and Pakistan because of the "competitiveness" exhibited by the two teams over the last eight years.
"I think it (India v Australia) has become bigger largely because of the competitiveness. All the series between us from 2001 onwards have been very keenly fought and have been very close ones," said Tendulkar at a function in Mumbai to unveil him as the global brand ambassador of Royal Scottish Bank Group.
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The ace batsman, who is at handshaking distance of overtaking West Indian great Brian Lara as Test cricket's highest run-getter, pointed out that India have been the only team in the world to have run world champions Australia close of late in the latter's backyard.
"We have gone to Australia and beaten them. We have been able to surprise the Australian team and that's what the Australian public likes: competition and high standards of play. They love to see challenges and competitiveness.
"The fan following for the India-Australia series has definitely increased as compared to say 15 years ago. The coming series would also be very closely fought. Talking on behalf of the Indian team I can say we will play hard but fair and I feel the Australians also will do so," said Tendulkar.
- Also see: Australia's tour of India schedule
Image: Sachin Tendulkar shows a Scottish cup during the press conference in Mumbai on Thursday.
Photograph: Shirish Shete/PTI | Text: PTI