Kapil to Kohli:’You are like Dalmiya, you can change things’

The India 1983 World Cup winner also said he is proud of the Virat Kohli-led Indian team’s fitness level; Sumathipala recalled how the former BCCI president Dalmiya fought situations to help the Islanders stage the 1996 World Cup a few months after the Colombo Central Bank bombing.

Kapil Dev shares a light moment with Virat Kohli at the Jagmohan Dalmiya Memorial Lecture in Kolkata on Tuesday.   -  CAB

Legendary India all-rounder Kapil Dev on Tuesday said that he was proud of the present Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team for its optimum fitness level. Speaking at the inaugural Jagmohan Dalmiya lecture here, Kapil said Kohli could take Indian cricket to greater heights. "Virat, you have the responsibility of taking Indian cricket foward. I am proud of your team's fitness level. You are like Dalmiya, you can change things. Every captain has brought in new things," said Kapil.

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"I want to tell the present team that we respected all former cricketers."

Hailing Dalmiya's extraordinary skills in cricket administration, Kapil said, "If cricketers are enjoying today, thanks to this man. In the last 50 years, he is the best administrator in all sports.

"We used to think can we get wages like Australian and English cricketers. Dalmiya understood that cricketers have a career up to 10 to 15 years and need money."

Kapil said Dalmiya broke the barrier between the BCCI and the players. "Dalmiya got the players closer to the Board. Earlier, no one questioned BCCI."

Kapil Dev at the Jagmohan Dalmiya Memorial Lecture in Kolkata on Tuesday.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT


Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) president Thilanga Sumathipala remembered how Dalmiya fought situations in the run-up to the 1996 World Cup, jointly hosted by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and made things easier for the terrorism-hit island nation to organise the mega event.

The Colombo Central Bank bombing — one of the deadliest terrorist attacks carried out by the LTTE a few months before the tournament — forced several teams to boycott matches held in the island.

"Negotiations with sponsors and managing things is an art. He was born with leadership skills and a good understanding (of situations)," said Sumathipala.

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The SLC chief also recalled how Dalmiya helped ace Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan get over the chucking controversy. "Addressing the umpires and match referees, we made a presentation about what exactly went wrong with Muralitharan's action.”

Sumathipala credited Dalmiya for devising events to bring money to the International Cricket Council (ICC). He said Dalmiya showed how Asian countries could do wonders by staying united and having a common objective.

"Jaggu was an unparalleled sports administrator. We could not take enough out of him," said Sumathipala.