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'Kapil Dev will be an asset to young Indian bowlers'

ON July 22, 2011 Kapil Dev witnessed his low point in Indian cricket — Mahendra Singh Dhoni abandoning his wicketkeeping gloves to bowl his medium pace in the absence of injured Zaheer Khan on Day Two of the India vs England Test at Lord’s.

One year down the line, Kapil is a far happier man after he was accepted back into the official fold yesterday. India’s first World Cup-winning captain sent a letter to Board president N Srinivasan saying that he had quit the defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL). Kapil buried the differences with the Board after five years and visited the BCCI headquarters in Churchgate for the first time yesterday.


India bowlers L Balaji (left) Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan (centre), Ajit Agarkar (right) listen to former captain Kapil Dev on the first day of a fitness camp at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore, 2004. Pic/AFP

Kapil’s return makes him eligible for Rs 1.5 crore in the one-time benefit scheme.

With Kapil back in the scheme of things, his former colleagues expect the legendary all-rounder to solve India’s bowling woes that have become Team India’s major weak link. There is no bowler ready to bear the burden in the absence of pace spearhead Zaheer. Injuries to bowlers remain a growing
concern.

Madan Lal, one of the key members of the 1983 World Cup-winning team and a former ICL coach, said Kapil will be an asset to young bowlers and the BCCI should utilise his services extensively. “Kapil can be used in various capacities. He can be an advisor in developing new policies for the Board. He would definitely play a huge role in developing fast bowlers. He’s the ideal person to take tips from on maintaining fitness and can play a major role in talent hunt schemes. He can do a lot of good for Indian cricket,” Madan Lal told MiD DAY from New Delhi.

Another member of Kapil’s 1983 devils, Balwinder Singh Sandhu said Kapil is an ideal mentor to fast bowlers. “He can work on the mental side of the game. He can talk to bowlers, and share his knowledge and experience. He is exceptional in all areas. He is still so passionate about the game,” said Sandhu, who was part of the ICL too.

Former India skipper Dilip Vengsarkar too wants to see the BCCI thriving on a good hand. “There is no one better than Kapil at the moment when it comes to fast bowling. His services should be fully utilised by the BCCI,” said Vengsarkar.

Comeback man Kapil more confident now about taking up any task
Kapil Dev, who returned the official fold after patching up with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) yesterday, has reservations if one terms his comeback as getting “amnesty from BCCI.”

“I never understood whether the word amnesty is correct or not. Maybe I am not very intelligent, but I checked the dictionary to find the meaning,” said Kapil with a tinge of sarcasm on the sidelines of relaunch function of magazine Sportstar.

The legendary all-rounder said that his stint with the rebel Indian Cricket League had been a learning experience. “Whatever people might think, but personally I have learnt a lot. Now I feel more experienced and confident about taking up any responsibility that I am entrusted with,” the former India captain said. He agreed that there were misunderstandings with the BCCI but those have been sorted out now. “I have always believed that there isn’t a single thing that can’t be sorted out if two people sit across the table and talk it out.” 

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