Kapil Dev asks India to look beyond Sachin Tendulkar
Former India captain Kapil Dev today advised Mahendra Singh Dhoni's men not to depend too much on Sachin Tendulkar and asked the youngsters to shoulder responsibility during the four-Test series against England starting in Ahmedabad tomorrow.
"Sachin will be the centre of attraction. The focus will be on him. But you can not rely only on Sachin. He is an important player, but it is the time when youngsters will have to shoulder the responsibility," Kapil told in an exclusive interview to PTI Bhasha.
After receiving a 0-4 drubbing at the hands of England late last year, India is looking to exploit the home advantage to its maximum against the visitors. However, Kapil warned that the move may "backfire". "If you are playing on a turning wicket, toss plays an important role.
The team that wins the toss gets an opportunity to play on the fresh wicket. You should always prepare the wicket as per team's strength. But a rank turner might backfire," the veteran all-rounder said. Kapil, meanwhile, said that the upcoming series would be a test for India's opening pair of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag, who have failed to give the country a solid platform in the recent past.
"Sehwag and Gambhir are big players, they hold a lot of importance. However, they have been struggling since last 15-20 Tests and it is really terrifying that what will happen if they don't score at the top. "Every player has a reputation and on that basis a team is selected but if they don't perform the team might have to struggle. Our opening is weak. If we get a good beginning, we can dominate England," he said.
The 53-year-old, who will be starting a fresh innings as a Hindi commentator for broadcasters Star Cricket during the series, added that it will be a tough task for the hosts to win the series with a big margin. "The situation is tough. We don't have strong bowling. If we win the series by clinching one or two Tests it will be a great achievement," Kapil said. "Zaheer Khan is not in great form.
Harbhajan (Singh) is also not performing well. In such circumstances if we win the series it will be a great thing," he added. India has picked off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin in the team along side left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha. Asked whether the team lacks variety in their attack, Kapil said: "If you have two good off spinners, what is the problem in playing both of them.
"If you have two Tendulkars won't you play them?" he asked. "Selectors have picked the best available team. Variety should be there, but that doesn't mean you won't play your best player," Kapil added. Asked about any weaknesses in the visiting team, Kapil said: "I don't think England is weak. They have got very good batsmen, all-rounders and their bowling is also strong. They have got the tail-enders which can contribute to the total. I don't think they are weak.
Their only weakness is the lack of harmony in the team. But once they will start playing even that thing will disappear," he said. Asked about the contest being pitted as a "revenge series", Kapil said: "As far as the revenge is concerned, the team should focus on giving their best and wining the series."
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Kapil Dev at an India's first 'online sports betting' center launch in Sikkim