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'India need to get over the party mode'

It will be interesting to see how India square off against Australia on Saturday, even while the T20 honeymoon is still on, writes Steve Waugh.

india Updated: Sep 29, 2007 01:20 IST

India's Twenty20 World Championship win is great because Indian cricket fans finally have something to celebrate. I have always admired their love for the game, so it was wonderful to see the fans spill into the streets to greet their team.

While the public celebrations are understandable, I was slightly concerned by the way individuals were rewarded. As far as I know, this is a team game, and it's difficult to understand why a car is being given to one player. Even the administrators have announced a cash prize for Yuvraj Singh that is separate from the one given to the team. It's a windfall that is more generous to some players and less to others. This often makes youngsters lose focus, and it cannot be great for team spirit either. If the reaction to India's exit from the World Cup was out of kilter, the rush to reward is no less so.

I also read about hockey players and even a snooker champion complaining their achievements have gone unnoticed. It can't be good for the sporting health of a country if all the marketing, advertising and patronage go to one game. India has plenty of potential in other disciplines, untapped because of lack of sponsorship.

It will be interesting to see how India square off against Australia on Saturday, even while the T20 honeymoon is still on. India has momentum and tremendous crowd support at the moment, so they will back their chances.

The return of Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly will revitalise the side. These guys don't need to prove themselves, but they would be hungry to succeed because they would be feeling a twinge for having missed being part of a World Championship-winning campaign. They will help the team look ahead and re-focus on the future quickly. If they remain in party mode, the Australians will dine out on them and take the series away before they know what has hit them.

There will be some curiosity about how man of the moment Mahendra Singh Dhoni deals with the Big Three. The ball is actually in the court of Dravid, Tendulkar and Ganguly, and knowing these guys I am sure they will accept the young captain and get on with the job. They are all pros who know the crests and troughs an Indian captain has to surf through, so perhaps they will help Dhoni in his first 50-over assignment.

First Published: Sep 29, 2007 01:16 IST