Melbourne:India has been robbed of its innocence by the ghastly terror strike in Mumbai but cricket in the country will resume after a short break as it is a way of life and a symbol of hope for the people there, feels former Australian skipper Steve Waugh.
"My gut feeling is that cricket will see an interruption in the short term but business will resume as normal shortly afterwards," Waugh, who has a long association with a charity for children of leprosy patients in India, said.
"The game of cricket in India is a way of life and a symbol of hope and, as such, it has the ability to restore faith and instill confidence," he wrote in a column for 'The Daily Telegraph'.
Waugh said abandoning of an ODI series by England and postponement of the Twenty20 Champions League were short-term reactions towards the tragedy that left over 150 people dead and everything will limp back to normalcy after a while albeit with heightened security and skepticism.
"Perversely, after such a major incident India will probably be a much safer place to be than previously, for security will reach unprecedented levels at airports, five-star hotels and places where people congregate. But such is human nature that confidence will be hard to restore in the short term," he explained.
"Time is a great healer but, much like 9/11, life on the subcontinent will never be the same. The need for security will be paramount and this will affect all facets of life," he added.
The former Aussie skipper felt the terror attack was just one of the crisis facing the game's administrators, who are already battling to save cricket in strife-torn Pakistan and politically volatile Zimbabwe.
"The danger to cricket is that the game needs India and any long-term interruption will have major ramifications. At present we have Pakistan cricket crippled by the threat of terrorism, Sri Lanka regularly blighted by a civil war and Zimbabwe mismanaged by corrupt administrators and government.
"The game is on the verge of a crisis and clear, concise thinking will be required from the various cricketing bodies to make sure that the correct decisions are made," he opined.
Waugh said the terror strike, which the world saw live on television, is a chilling reminder of the hatred brewing in the world.
"It is hard to believe that people can harbour so much hatred they would be willing to commit such atrocities as we have all witnessed in Mumbai this week. India is a country I love and respect and to see it teetering as a result of terrorism is particularly painful," he said.
"I have travelled to this amazing country that bombards and heightens your senses for the past 22 years and have frequented both the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels regularly. I have always felt safe and secure there," he said.
Waugh recalled how he himself defied the briefing advice and took strolls down the streets "to see the real India and capture it through my lens to give me a sense of freedom and reality."
"Sadly now this sense of innocence has been extinguished and touring life for future cricket teams will revolve around club sandwiches and in-house movies," he said.