Australia's Warne reassures worried Indians

MELBOURNE: Cricketer Shane Warne put a positive spin on his home state of Victoria Tuesday as he sought to reassure Indian residents worried by recent attacks on foreign students.

Warne, who is coach and captain of the Indian Premier League team Rajasthan Royals, was mobbed by members of the Indian community seeking his autograph, photo and tips on spin bowling during a picnic function in Melbourne.

"It's important for me as a Victorian... to keep building the relationship with India and Australia, and in particular Victoria," he told the crowd.

Warne was recruited to improve ties between Australia and India after a spate of beatings and robberies of Indian students threatened to sour relations and the popularity of the country's educational institutions among Indians.

"I want to listen, really, to hear what the students have to say and see what these guys, how they're feeling about things."

Victoria was the scene of much of the violence that culminated in the stabbing murder of a 21-year-old Punjab man in Melbourne in January.

The legendary leg-spinner on Tuesday came to the state's defence, saying: "It's just such a great state, it's a great city to live in.

"I'll keep pushing the message across over there.

"I love India, I love Rajasthan when I play cricket there," he added.