Ricky Ponting and his team of Twenty20 triers will have more than a responsibility as cricketers if, as expected, they meet India at Lord's on Friday 12 June. The scheduled World Cup fixture will come at a time of increasingly tense relations between the two cricket loving nations caused by Indian anger at a series of assaults on Indian nationals in Australia that are being portrayed as examples of Australian racism. How the Ponting team behaves during its on field clash with Mahendra Dhoni's defending T20 champions has the potential to both calm or inflame the tensions.
Those tensions are certainly running hot in India at the moment.
Stories like that one are all over the Indian newspapers and television screens today and that they are being read and the issue talked about is clearly illustrated by these Times of India listings last night:
The references in these stories to what Indian students are describing as loutish, drunken behaviour by Australians should also be a warning to World Cup organisers to brush up on their responsible serving of alcohol principles. If there was ever a time for an alcohol free game of cricket at Lord's, this one would be it.