IPL's melting pot of stars

Teamwork: The IPL created the stage for traditional rivals to form life-long relationships (GETTY IMAGES)

It was a sight to behold as Australians, Indians, Pakistanis and a South African joyously embraced and celebrated together – this on a cricket field as well.

The Rajasthan Royals clinched a nail-biting Indian Premier League final on Sunday to end a tournament that has been nothing short of entertaining. Sport, like life, is not always fair, but few could deny that the Shane Warne-led team truly deserved victory. The Jaipur-side were outstanding throughout, topping the league and losing only three times en route to the final.

Back to the celebrations and if you had to take stock on what the inaugural IPL achieved, creating understanding and better international relationships will certainly need a mention.

One can't picture Australia's Matthew Hayden, for example, nastily inviting Ishant Sharma for a boxing match with him again now that he knows he has to turn up in India every year. Pakistan-India relationships have being strained, but when Sohail Tanvir hit the winning runs, his Indian team-mates running up to embrace him was watched by millions.

Then there is the Warne/Graeme Smith fairy tale. South Africans and Australians have always been fierce sporting foes, but in this case, the stormy relationship was personal. It was the case of two in-your-face, tell-it-like-it-is sportsmen being named team-mates after well documented spats in the international arena. It certainly raised a few eyebrows.

South Africa's captain Smith, with his brash personality, has been involved in more than his fair share of spats. While he has come out on top after most of them – Warne and the Australians are one battle he hasn't won.

Former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming, former England captain Nasser Hussain and South Africa-born England star Kevin Pietersen list among the more publicised clashes Smith has been involved in, but in the case of Warne at Rajasthan, Smith seems to have gone on the adage: "if your can't beat them, join them" – and combined with the leg-spinner to carry their team to IPL victory.

Before we leave the IPL, a mention must be made about Chennai captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Once again, the Indian wicket-keeper showed just how good a captain he was in the final and if only his batting form had matched his leadership in the tournament, Chennai would have been unbeatable.

After the loss, lesser leaders would have let their side wander off in gloom and disarray – not so Dhoni. He gathered up his team in a huddle and gave them inspirational and animated praise for their efforts.

During the IPL, Warne was described as "the best captain Australia never had", if Dhoni continues in this stead, he will be soon be hailed as the best captain India ever had.

Staying with cricket, but on to something less cheerful.

On Tuesday, news broke of Pakistan fast-bowler Mohammad Asif being detained at Dubai International Airport for allegedly having illegal substances in his possession.

In athletics, American sprinting great Michael Johnson was in shock after hearing that his team-mate Antonio Pettigrew admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs during their 4x400m relay win at the Sydney Olympics. The five-time Olympic medalist revealed he would return the medal.

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