World Cup is Not About Sachin Alone: Kapil Dev

MUMBAI, Feb 3(TOI): There's this thing about Kapil Dev. Just when you start thinking he's clueless about the conversation going around him, he comes up with a comment so forthright that he leaves you thinking about what he just said.

On Wednesday afternoon, when six former World Cup-winning captains gathered at a promotional event in south Mumbai to speak about the upcoming quadrennial event, a similar thing happened.

"Why Sachin?" he thundered, when asked how important this World Cup was for Sachin Tendulkar. "It's an insult to everybody else if you keep asking about Sachin all the time. Winning the World Cup is as important to the rest of the team as it is to Sachin, to you and me and the billions who want India to do well. It's not about Sachin alone."

Until then, it had seemed like Kapil was busy soaking in what his contemporaries - Clive Lloyd, Allan Border, Imran Khan, Arjuna Ranatunga and Steve Waugh - had just said. At that moment though, he did many things by not allowing the thought of this being 'Tendulkar's World Cup' to seep into the mind. He not only addressed the fact that too much pressure was being put on Tendulkar's dream of winning the trophy, but also reminded how passionate India is about this game.

The six former skippers kept aside enough time to take questions from the eras gone by to the 10th edition of the World Cup which begins later this month. Imran and Ranatunga spoke of controversies and corruptions, Waugh and Border spoke of Australia's fighting spirit and Lloyd reminisced the glory days of West Indies.

Of course, they all made it an afternoon to remember.

Imran remembered how much the 1992 World Cup victory mattered when it came to materialising his dream of building a cancer hospital and spoke of the current woes of Pakistan cricket.

Ranatunga saw humour in assessing how the 1996 World Cup victory had changed Sri Lankan cricket. "Among many things, the World Cup success brought more politics and corruption into Sri Lankan cricket," was how he summarised the impact of the victory.

Steve Waugh was asked what he thought of sledging in cricket and once again displaying the no-nonsense attitude that he's so famous for, he just said: "I don't want to comment."

Border remembered the 1987 World Cup victory that was the beginning of a turnaround in Australian cricket. When asked what it takes for teams from outside the sub-continent to win here, he said: "Discipline. That's what Bob Simpson (Australia's World Cup-winning coach) taught the team and that's what gave us the edge."

Lloyd put his hope on West Indies opener Chris Gayle, labelling him a player with the ability to change the course of a match single-handedly. "If West Indies make it to the quarterfinal and Gayle is in form, the team's chances will be very good. He's a player who can alone make a difference in a game," the two-time World Cup-winning skipper said.


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