Six years ago, Kapil Dev was just another promising young bowler. Since then, he has come a long way, hasn’t he? Today, apart from being the world’s leading all-rounder, he has proved to be a dynamic captain.
The day when the victorious World Cup skipper reached his home city, Chandigarh, The Sportstar met him at his residence. Kapil looked to be in a trance, for the spate of receptions he had attended (at Bombay and Delhi) had left him exhausted. “I still can’t believe it,” he said repeatedly. Excerpts from the interview:
Now that India has become the world champion in One-Day cricket, what measures would you suggest to consolidate the position?
Only the best and continuous efforts can yield results. Our World Cup triumph should certainly give a boost to cricket in the country. As you know, we have won the World Cup mainly on the basis of good fielding. So, we should lay more stress on fielding. I am of the opinion that a good fielder is more important than a poor fielder who scores a century. The Board of Control for Cricket in India should organise more One-Day matches, so that we can keep level with international teams in this type of cricket. The board should also reorganise the format of Class-I tournaments so that a player who finally makes the Test team would have played a large number of matches and gained enough experience.
Though we have won the World Cup, don’t you feel we still lack something in this type of cricket?
Yes, I think so. Actually, the One-Day game is altogether a different ball game from Test cricket. Our domestic cricket is Test oriented. Except the Deodhar Trophy and Wills Trophy, there are no other limited-overs tournaments in the country. The board should organise tournaments in such a way that every player gets maximum opportunity to play in limited-overs games. We must shape talent in the age group of 14-21.
With One-Day cricket assuming so much importance, don’t you think special care should be taken in selecting a touring party?
We should stress on the Test 16 only. The One-Day players will emerge from them.
Coming to the domestic scene, what steps would you recommend for improvement in the standard?
I would like some sort of a method to be devised so that weaker teams can employ professionals, either from their zone or from any other zone, but with the undertaking that they play for a minimum stipulated period. I have in mind associations like Jammu and Kashmir, Services, Kerala... There are so many good players in centres like Delhi, Bombay, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu unable to find a place in these sides. Indian cricket will become stronger, matches will be more interesting and these players will get enough opportunities to prove themselves.
Further, first-class cricketers should get more money. After all, it is they who keep the coffers of the board full. At present, only players who make the Test team get a sizeable amount. The others have do with a pittance. This gap should be narrowed.
Any word of advice for budding cricketers in the country?
There is no shortcut to the top. The only thing that can take a player there is hard work. This is my only advice to youngsters.
What are the prospects of the forthcoming series against Pakistan and the West Indies?
It is difficult to say right now. But to be very frank, I will try to get a result in every Test match as I don’t like to be defensive in tactics. I would like to have two spinners in the Indian team. I won’t mention names, but believe me, the spinners will have to be good fielders, too.
That begs the question: Can Dilip Doshi make a comeback in the Indian team?
It is always possible. If Doshi does really well in the Irani Cup match, who knows... All those who have been knocking on the Test door have a chance during the Irani Cup match to be considered for the series against Pakistan.