Former captain Kapil Dev said that Indian batting’s mainstay Virat Kohli will rewrite more records than anyone else in world cricket and believed the Delhi batsman has realistic chances of “bettering” even Sachin Tendulkar’s career graph if he remains injury-free.
“Without any doubt Kohli will make more records than anybody else. I don’t compare, there cannot be a second Don Bradman, and there cannot be another Sachin Tendulkar. But yes, Kohli has got amazing talent, it’s huge for a 24-year-old, and maybe, he can be better than Tendulkar. The next generation has to be better than the previous one,” Kapil said.
Kapil, 55, is here as one of the ambassadors for the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards, scheduled to be held on Wednesday.
Talking about Kohli, he further said, “Virat Kohli has so far shown that he has more ability and talent than anybody else and if he can play till 32 or 34 with same fitness and without injuries, he will come to a point where not even Vivian Richards neither Sachin Tendulkar had such a record.”
Kapil said a team can’t expect one individual to carry on the responsibilities on his shoulders forever.
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“I don’t look at it that way because he has done his job, you don’t expect Don Bradman to play for 100 years or Sachin Tendulkar to carry on forever. For 24 years he has served his country so well, he did everything what a cricketer should do but you have to move on in life and sooner the team realise that it’s good for the team. If you start talking about him all the time team is not going to be settled.”
According to the 1983 World Cup-winning captain, taking the IPL to UAE could help the Gulf nation in getting rid of the fixing tag.
“If we can promote the game in different parts of the world there is nothing wrong in it. With the IPL, I hope the tag that the UAE has it should be removed. I think the people there love the game. I am very happy that cricket has gone back to Gulf. Let’s hope it brings a better name.”
As far as this summer’s tour of England was concerned, he said it will be a test of character for the team. “I think this is the first ever we will be playing five
Test matches in England. In the last 30-40 years we have only played three or four Tests in a series, this is the first time we are playing a full series against England. It will be a test of nerves and ability.”
Asked if India fancy their chances with England not in the best of form in recent times, he said, “I am not sure, we haven’t performed really well outside India or sub- continent, so there is a little doubt in my mind, but having said that we are much more compact now. Yes, I second that England is not playing well, so taking both things into consideration I can say I am confident.”
Kapil is one of the three ambassadors from cricket in Laureus and when asked about the expansion of the sport globally, he said, “Try and understand cricket was played by Commonwealth countries only, now it has started in other countries as well and I am proud of that.
“In another 10-15 years cricket will move around the world and more and more countries will be playing the game. Look at Afghanistan and the Netherlands. I, as a cricketer, would like to see 100 counties playing top-flight cricket, just like tennis and football. If I am alive to see that I will be very happy.”
Asked what role the ICC can play in making this a reality, he said, “I think the ICC has to spend a lot of money, you will have to promote it the way football and rugby promoted their games. Cricket has to go to China, Europe, UAE and Africa. If Europe and America take this game, it will change forever.”
He said T20 will be crucial to how the sport grows globally in the years to come.
“Promoting T20 is the ideal thing. Promoting Test cricket still needs a lot of countries to have that mindset, but T20 goes like a fire and every country can spend 4-5 hours. I hope in the next 10-15 years America and China take up this game.”
About Virender Sehwag, who is struggling to return to the Indian team due to his prolonged poor form, Kapil said, “He has to get runs. He has been the most attractive and entertaining cricketer in the last 20 years. I will go miles to watch him bat but he has to get runs to make a comeback. If he get runs it will be good for team.”
Talking about India’s current opening pair in limited overs cricket, Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan, Kapil said, “They are talented and hardworking but everything depends on good performance and if they can do well in England we can be proud about that. Rohit Sharma needs a better head, he is talented and he excites me, and so does Ravindra Jadeja and the fast bowlers.”