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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 March 2007, 11:16 GMT
'India need to be consistent'
The BBC's Hindi Service is running a series of interviews to discover the unknown side of South Asia's newsmakers. Here, the service's India editor Sanjeev Srivastava talks to Indian cricket legend and captain of the 1983 World Cup winning team, Kapil Dev.


India suffered a shock defeat in the hands of Bangladesh in the World Cup cricket
'India needs to perform consistently'

Kapil Dev says that consistency, a will to win and self belief are the keys to the success of the Indian cricket team in the ongoing World Cup cricket tournament.

"If they are able to score on these qualities, the Indian team is quite capable of winning the World Cup," said the former cricket great and captain of the 1983 World Cup winning Indian team in an interview recently.

Kapil's comments now seem prescient in the light of India's roller-coaster journey at the World Cup so far - a shock defeat against spirited Bangladesh was followed by a thumping victory over minnows Bermuda, thus setting the stage for this weekend's do-or-die match against Sri Lanka.

Kapil said the present team is "much better" than the 1983 team he led to India's biggest victory, though his team had some great all-rounder like Mohinder Amarnath, Roger Binny and Madan Lal. Also, Kapil himself.

"But man for man the present Indian team is much more talented with players like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Saurav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni."

"On his day any of these players can win India the match on his performance alone."

'More responsible'

Kapil is circumspect in his assessment of India's star players.

He is concerned about swashbuckling opener Virendra Sehwag's shot selection - the cricketer has been suffering from an awful loss of form in recent months, and raised some hopes after cracking a century against Bermuda on Monday.

Sachin Tendulkar
'Sachin is allowing the bowlers to dominate'
"Sehwag has been playing cricket for long and I don't think he should change his natural attacking style of going after the bowlers," said Kapil.

"But he should has to be more judicious in selecting his shots and his batting should now become more responsible."

Kapil also did not hesitate in criticising Indian cricket's seemingly invincible star, Sachin Tendulkar.

"I think Sachin is a player who can change his style according to the needs of the game. But in recent years he has given the impression that he allows the bowlers to dominate.

"A player of Sachin's stature should not play under pressure but only he can decide why he is choosing to withdraw into a shell rather than playing his natural attacking game."

It was difficult to miss the sarcasm in what he said next.

"In any case Sachin says that he understands his own game better than anyone else."

Kapil was also candid about his relationship with one of Indian cricket's all time greats, Sunil Gavaskar.

Known as the 'little master' in his playing days, Gavaskar was one of the highest run getters in cricket.

'Playing to win'

Kapil set the record straight saying he always had great respect for Gavaskar though his favourite player and batsman those days was the stylish batsman Gundappa Viswanath.

"However our approach to the game was entirely different. He [Gavaskar] hated to lose so he played more for drawing the game than winning it."

"Our days were different. We were not content with a draw. We played to win and this difference of attitude showed in our respective approach on the field," said Kapil.

Virender Sehwag
'Sehwag should be more responsible in selecting his shots'
On India's dream run in the 1983 World Cup he said the big difference between then and now was that "we believed in ourselves".

"Even in the finals when we got out after scoring 183 runs I told the boys that we have put those many runs on the board. Now the West Indies have to go out and score these many runs," he says.

Kapil's team made sure they got nowhere near that total.

So how were the celebrations after India's cricket most famous victory?

"It was unbelievable. There was so much champagne all round. We had so much fun and so much to drink."

But the World Cup winning Indian team went to bed hungry on that heady night.

"There was so much excitement and so much champagne that we forgot restaurants stop serving food after 11pm in London. Me and the boys searched for food till about two in the morning before settling down for some toast and butter dinner.

The radio interview with Kapil Dev can be found via bbchindi.com. The programme is called Ek Mulaqat.


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