Indian team deserved more time to enjoy World Cup, says Kapil Dev

Former Indian captain Kapil Dev advised the BCCI to spend its resources to hunt for talent in smaller towns and also to focus on schools cricket Getty Images

Mumbai: Sep 29, 2011

Cricket legend Kapil Dev slammed Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for not allowing Indian players to unwind after a fabulous win in the recently-concluded World Cup, and instead asking them to play in the board-sponsored lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL).

“The players did not get time to unwind and enjoy their World Cup victory. They had worked three years for it. They just got four days (before IPL began). They should have got more time to enjoy the (triumphant) moment,” he said.

The former national coach also suggested to the Board to cut down on the burden on India’s fast bowling lot in order to cut down on the injuries.

“Over the last 20 years we have had good fast and swing bowlers in Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan, Venkatesh Prasad and the likes. But the Cricket Board should understand how much burden the fast bowlers can take. They can’t bowl for 365 days,” he remarked.

He also took a pot shot at modern fast bowlers going to the gymnasium more than working out on the field.

“These days fast bowlers spend more time in the gym and they don’t want to bowl more than four overs. In our days we used to run around the ground to strengthen our leg and stomach muscles,” he explained.

Kapil, while lauding the BCCI for looking after the cricketers’ lot including old-timers like himself through the monthly gratis scheme, also wanted the Board to scrap the five-man zonal selection panel and make it into a three-member committee with zonal advisors/talent spotters to feed them.

“The five-member zonal selection committee should be replaced by a three or four-man non-zonal committee. The Board has enough money to employ 10 zonal representatives each feeding the three selectors about the talent in their zones,” he said.

“The other sports bodies should learn a lesson from the Cricket Board on how to look after their people. The Cricket Board has done extremely well (in building its finances). We can depend on it for pension.

“But the problem with the Cricket Board is that it never thought it would see such money. There’s nothing wrong with that. But if you want to make only money and not care for the game, I will not agree. The game has made you and not the other way around,” he said.

Talking about his differences with the Board in the past, Kapil said it was on issues only.

“If I had a disagreement with the BCCI, I had a reason for it. I am not a yes man. I have played cricket on my own terms. I respect all cricketers and the Board up to a level but no one can push me,” the one-time ace all rounder said.

Kapil fell out with the Board after joining hands with the Essel Group to promote the Indian Cricket League which was formed before the BCCI came up with its own cash-rich T20 League, IPL.

“I did not create ICL. I am only a worker. If you are going to ask me to develop cricket I will do that. They said they wanted to develop young cricketers. There are so many who have not got the opportunity and I felt that the Board shouldn’t have any objections to it. They should not have objected to it, but it’s their opinion.

“I am getting money to do what I know. If someone offered me a coaching job in Timbaktoo I don’t have to ask the Board and I never will,” he emphasised.

Kapil, while praising the media’s role in making cricket what it is now, took a dig at it for being obsessed about individual records rather than the team’s performance.

“You are keener about Sachin’s (Tendulkar) 99 hundreds and not about how we are going to win the next series. I am not saying don’t give individual performance credit, but it should not be more than the country’s performance. We have to change our mindset. If we lose the match what’s the use of statistics. To hell with that!.”

“Fast bowling is an art like spin bowling. All artists are crazy. Whoever wrote this book is also crazy,” Kapil said about former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar’s autobiography “Controversially Yours” which has raised a storm of outrage in India.

Kapil dismissed the three-captain theory recently adopted by England (for Tests, ODIs and T20s) as unworkable in India at present.

“If I am good enough for all three formats why not (as captain)? We have Dhoni as captain in all three formats and he’s suitable to play in all of them. How can he be asked to play under someone else in one of the formats?

“In India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka egos are much bigger than the thought process. It is not that it can’t be done. But it will take time. I don’t think it’s possible right away in our country,” he said.

Kapil was in favour of the controversial Decision Review System which has been consistently opposed by the BCCI which has decided to fight against its watered down version too at the next International Cricket Council meeting after the debatable decisions in the India-England series.

“Technology is to help the umpires, but the media is so strong that if you give a wrong decision (using technology) you would show it 600 times. Despite technology we want best men on the field (as umpires). It has to be a blend of both.

Why not get the best out of technology?.”

Kapil also advised the Board to spend its resources to hunt for talent in smaller towns as he felt that people in big cities were too busy and also to focus on schools cricket.

“90 per cent of the cricketers for the next 20 years would come from smaller places and not from Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi where people don’t have time. At least 20 per cent money should be spent in these small towns,” he said.

“If you want to develop as a better cricket country, cricket should be developed in the schools. BCCI should work on that. If schools cricket is good, then future of Indian cricket will be great,” he said.

“We always had brilliant players but never a great team.

We need big commitment to develop a great team,” he added. (PTI)