Kapil Dev new
Legendary Indian all-rounder Kapil Dev feels that frequent chopping and changing has given India a bigger pool of players, but he cautions that there should be a method in the process. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Legendary Indian all-rounder Kapil Dev is confident that Men in Blue have the talent to win the 2023 World Cup at home and feels India will have big-enough talent pool to field three different teams for all three formats.

Responding to the frequent chopping and changes to Indian teams, the former Indian captain said: “The flip side of changing the team frequently allows many cricketers a chance to play. In future, I can see India will have three teams, one each for Twenty20, ODI and Tests. That way you can have a bigger pool also,” Dev told Gulf News before teeing off for the CEO Masters in Dubai recently for Thriwe, a technology-driven B2B consumer benefits marketplace catering to both national and international markets.

Dropping man-of-the-match

However, he didn’t subscribe to the view for a wholesale change. “Yes, they should have one set of team for a period of time. You can have the odd person changing, I can understand, but man-of-the-match getting dropped and someone else coming in, as cricketers, we don’t understand that,” said Dev, referring to a recent instance when Kuldeep Yadav was dropped for the second Test against Bangladesh after producing a match-winning performance in the opening Test. Also Suryakumar Yadav was dropped for the first two ODIs against Sri Lanka after an unbeaten century in the final Twenty20 against the islanders.

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Former Indian captain Kapil Dev with Dhruv Verma, Founder and CEO of Thriwe. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

The 64-year-old, who guided India to the first World Cup title in 1983 that’s famously known as Kapil’s Devils, feels India have the team to win the 50-over World Cup to be held at home this year. “Yes, we have a team, but there are other teams also who have the ability to win the World Cup. To win the trophy, you need a stroke of luck, right combination and top of that the main players should remain fit, that’s the most important thing. When they play so much cricket, injuries are going to take place and I hope when they get to play the tournament they don’t get injured,” Kapil Dev hoped. India’s second 50-over World Cup title was won under Mahendra Singh Dhoni in 2011 in India.

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Fabulous player

Dev, known for his big-hitting, daredevil batting prowess, is in awe of Suryakumar Yadav’s progress in international cricket and feels the success is possible due to the high-quality Indian Premier League. “He is a fabulous player. No one expected Suryakumar Yadav to come and play something like that. The IPL has given them the opportunity to express themselves and come to Indian team,” Kapil said.

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Indian players celebrate their win over New Zealand in the first ODI in Hyderabad on Wednesday. Image Credit: AFP

About the frequent comparison between Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli as to who will be his first choice, Kapil bowled a yorker by saying “A player of that calibre, you don’t have to pick one or two. It’s a team of XI players. I might have my own likes or dislikes, but every generation is going to get better. In our time, Sunil Gavaskar was one of the finest then we saw Rahul Dravid, Sachin, Virender Sehwag and this generation Rohit, Virat and next generation will be better. You will see a better cricketer and performing better.”

Sachin Tendulkar with Virat Kohli
There have been constant comparisons between Virat Kohli (right) and the legendary Sachin Tendulkar. Image Credit: AFP

Pacers have to bowl more

As a fast bowler, Kapil Dev enjoyed a relatively injury-free career spanning 16 years, taking a then world record of 434 Test wickets. But today, so many fast bowlers breakdown frequently due to injuries. The ace pacer, whose late outswingers and yorkers have left many famed batters baffled, says it is due to non-stop cricket. “Now the season extends to more than 10 months. The more you play the more injuries will happen. Cricket is not a simple game. One has to be athletic, use all the muscles and play on different ground conditions, the softness and the hardness. Adapting to everything is not so easy, it takes a toll on the body. So you crack,” he said.

To avoid it, he adds: “The more you bowl in the net, the more your muscle will start developing. Today, I am told, that the pacers are allowed to bowl only 30 balls. That’s one reason. When they take so much stress to play at the professional level, then the body starts cracking. They have to bowl more than anything else.”

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Kapil Dev with the other participants of the CEO Masters in Dubai. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Amazing transformation

Kapil Dev, who has been a frequent visitor to the UAE, playing in Sharjah since the early 1980s, feels the Dubai has been changing every six months and is amazed by the transformation the city has undergone in the last four decades.

“In 1980s there was nothing, but today the country has become a golfing destination, apart from cricket, and so many other sports,” he said. “I like to enjoy every day as it comes. If I get a chance to play golf, I feel happy and proud because I am a sportsman. Golf is not my game, but when I go on to the greens, I give my 100 per cent. And try to win everything, if not, let it so be,” he left, putting on his golf cap for the tee off.