‘He was a father figure to World Cup-winning team’

For me and my team Salve sir was a father-figure and will always remain a man I looked up to. He was a powerful politician,but to us cricketers,especially the 1983 World Cup winning team,he was very special

Written by Nihal Koshie | Published: April 2, 2012 12:10 am

KAPIL DEV

For me and my team Salve sir was a father-figure and will always remain a man I looked up to. He was a powerful politician,but to us cricketers,especially the 1983 World Cup winning team,he was very special. I was very close to him and he considered me like his son.

I don’t think BCCI presidents in the past or the present have shared such a close relationship with the players. He was a friend,someone I could trust and someone who put the interest of the players and the game above everything else. Whenever we needed him he was around.

I still recall the days when he used to spend time with the players,often sharing a cup of tea and biscuits with us. He enjoyed an excellent relationship with the players and also ensured that there was a sense of camaraderie within the team at all times.

Back in those days,the BCCI didn’t have lots of money. But that didn’t stop Salve from inquiring with us if we needed anything to become better players. He always tried his best to ensure that we were happy.

He will always have a special place in our hearts because it was when he was BCCI president that we won the World Cup. It was heartening that he made the effort to come to New Delhi when we celebrated 25 years of the World Cup win. All the players were pleased to see a close friend again.

When we won the World Cup,he asked me what I wanted. I told him that I wanted to shift base from Chandigarh to New Delhi. For me the move was a big one because I had stayed in and around Chandigarh most of my life. Salve sir was a great source of support for someone like me who at that time didn’t know too many people in Delhi. It was because of his help and guidance that I could move to Delhi. Not once did he make me feel that I was obligated to him during my career as a cricketer and even after that.

I am terribly sad to have lost a father figure.

(as told to Nihal Koshie)

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