Melbourne: Indian Test cricketer Rahul Dravid, who is a patron of a supporter group, the Indian Tigers, which is associated with the Australian Football League (AFL) team Richmond Tigers, is likely to be involved in a AFL-related event at the D.Y. Patil Stadium in India next year.
According to an Australian daily, two AFL teams -- Richmond Tigers and Greater Western Sydney – have reportedly agreed to play a pre-season match in India in 2013.
Richmond Tigers chief executive Brendon Gale has been floating the idea for some time, but had struggled to find an AFL club willing to participate, with Essendon angling for a post-season clash.
The club now believes this pre-season match at the D Y Patil Stadium is an important first step in getting the Indian community involved in the AFL.
The Tigers and Giants have agreed to play the match in Mumbai next February, most likely at the DY Patil Stadium, a state-of-the-art 60,000-seater that hosts Indian Premier League cricket matches.
"We`ve already expanded nationally with our game now it`s time to grow it internationally." Giants boss David Matthews said:
"We`ve got two kids in our academy from Indian heritage and you only had to be in the crowd at ANZ Stadium for the Twenty20 international to see what sort of an atmosphere an Indian crowd creates."
"It will give Indians another team and another sport to follow. I have watched some games on television - it is fast and very physical. It would be great to see a game played in India," Dravid said.
The match is seen as a way to repair Melbourne`s troubled relationship with India after last year`s rash of assaults on students.
Premier Ted Baillieu was in Mumbai over the weekend promoting Victoria as a tourist destination, and is believed to have discussed the AFL match.