Lara cautions India against Australian backlash

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New Delhi, Mar 12 (UNI) Indian cricket team will now be under more pressure and public scanner to perform well after their good showing against Pakistan and Australia, feels former West Indies skipper Brian Lara.

Lavishing praise on Anil Kumble and Mahendra Singh Dhoni for their leadership qualties, Lara said defeating Australia on their home soil was a great achievement but cautioned India to be ready for a backlash from the World Champions.

Talking to mediapersons at a promotional function here last evening, Lara said, ''It's really good for India to beat Australia in Australia despite having a new captain leading in Tests and one-dayers. But Australia is going to come stronger and look for revenge. Hard work is going to start now.'' He praised the Indian captains (of the Test and one-day series) saying, ''Anil and Dhoni have done well but they will have to be on guard and not be complacent with the one-day tri-series win.

They have to maintain the consistency.'' Asked about Sachin Tendulkar's performance down under, he said, ''I have said it many times that he is a great player. I don't want to repeat it. But Buchanan (former Australian coach) made a mistake by lighting up fire under Sachin before the start of the series.'' The West Indian legend was of the view that the Twenty20 format has tremendous potential. ''I am happy to have played some Test and one-dayers but Twenty20 is an interesting form. I am happy that I'm considered to play in this short format also," said Lara, who announced his retirement from international cricket after failing to lead the West Indies to the ODI World Cup win at home.

''It (T20) brings different kind of crowd to the ground. I don't see any problem with it. It can evolve into something bigger in future,'' he said.

About the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Indian Cricket League (ICL), Lara said the competitions would increase options for individual players to play and earn more.

''The situation is unavoidable. People need to wake up to the fact that there are options for players unlike in the past,'' he said.

Lara expressed his unhappiness that cricketers playing in the ICL were being ignored by national boards like in New Zealand.

''They (Boards) got to get their act together, you cannot blame a cricketer if he gets the chance to play in either of IPL or ICL.

I have played in New Zealand. Once we 22 players played while the entire stadium was empty while a crowd of 60,000 people was watching a rugby match in the adjacent ground.'' ''Now corporates are owning teams in IPL. Certainly that has created more options and an individual can make choice wherever he wants to play and earn good money.'' ''Look at football, there are several leagues around the world.

One player may be playing for one club next time he maybe playing for another club and there is no stigma Nobody is bothered who plays where,'' he remarked.

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