Former star opener Virender Sehwag on Tuesday said that the Australian players were scared of sledging Virat Kohli and the other Indian players during the recently concluded One-Day International (ODI) series due to the possibility of losing out on their lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) contracts.
Sehwag said the Aussies, who were thrashed 4-1 in the five-match series, restrained themselves from getting involved in verbal volleys because of the fear that they might not earn mega money in the IPL auctions scheduled for next year.
"They (Australian players) are scared because of the next year's mega IPL auctions. If they had sledged the Indian players in the ODI series, then the Indian franchise owners might think before bidding high for the Australian players. This can also be a reason for them not to get involved in sledging with their Indian counterparts," Sehwag told India TV.
The rivalry between India and Australia is quite intense and a lot is always at stake when the two teams meet.
A series between these teams invariably involves a lot of passion and frayed tempers, a testimony to that being the Test series that India won 2-1 earlier this year.
A huge row erupted during the second Test in Bengaluru in March when Australia captain Smith looked towards the dressing room for assistance on a Decision Review System (DRS) call after he was adjudged LBW by umpire Nigel Llong at the Chinnaswami Stadium.
Smith later admitted to looking towards their dressing room and described it a "brain fade" moment. As the issue threatened to escalate, the ICC intervened and brokered peace without penalising anyone.
However, the Australians -- usually fierce and aggressive -- seemed to be lacking confidence during their ODI drubbing.
Sehwag said the "brain fade" incident might have kept the Australians quiet this time.
"I think the Australian team was playing under pressure because they don't have all the great players now. Their team was dependent on two or three players -- David Warner, Steve Smith and Aaron Finch.
"Out of these three players, Smith couldn't do much. Also, I think the fair amount of criticism which Smith received due to some of his actions, including the "brain fade" moment during the Test series created pressure on them," Sehwag said.