Iconic Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar has been “unbelievable” in the last two years and keeps getting better with age, feels 1983 World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev.
“Sachin in the last two years has been unbelievable. This genius is other way around, more he gets older more he plays like a champion,” Kapil Dev, known as the Haryana Hurricane, told members of the Indian Journalists Association here last evening.
The former all-rounder was all praise for the current Indian team under Mahendra Singh Dhoni which won the World Cup last week in Mumbai.
“India has a team who can beat anybody. They still are not playing to their potential,” he said.
“The Indian team is far better than any other team, without doubt.”
Asked about the secret of the Indian team’s success, Kapil said, “India’s growth is seen in every championship -- Commonwealth, Asian games and World Cup. We are definitely flying and flying very well and shining. Now India is the World Champions, besides being No 1 Team in the world in Test cricket.
“We have put money on the table and we have shown that we can play well too. That is what World Cup has done to India.
Now only thing is when you reach the top position, your attitude changes.”
Asked why the team had faltered in the run up to the final, Kapil said, “When you have such a strong batting line up, complacency sometimes sets in. Despite that they were winning. They are far far better players than they performed. Even Dhoni fired only when it needed most, in the final.”
The former pacer was also lavish in his praise for India’s dashing opener Virender Sehwag.
“He is a ruthless player. He changes the dynamics of the cricket altogether. He keeps the game so simple.”
Kapil said India could improve further if the team gave more attention to its bowling department. “Yes, bowling is a matter of concern,” he said.
Asked to compare the current team with the one that won the World Cup in 1983, Kapil said, “This cricket team is far better than the 1983 team. We did not have any experienced players in the 1983 team. We were absolutely raw, no big match temperament. But we combined better.
“But in the present team there are stalwarts like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, M S Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh. In 1983, man to man, West Indies was far better than us.”
Asked whether IPL had its effect on the Indian side, he said, “Everybody benefited from IPL. There is both positive and negative side. The positive is you start learning to win. The negative is you don’t get enough rest.”
Kapil said the BCCI should put money on junior cricket and Ranji.
“They have to make up their mind. If we want growth in sports, then school sports have to be given due attention. If we can give facilities we can have 10 Sachins and Dhonis in the country.
“During our time, Sunil Gavaskar was like a God and If we don’t get another Sachin, it will be sad.”
Asked whether cricketers should be exempted from tax for the prize they win, Kapil Dev said, “The law should be uniform for all sportsmen. Other sportsmen who have got laurels in athletics, badminton and other games must be given same exemptions.”