This World Cup will in all probability be the final chance for batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar to bag the only silverware missing from his trophy cabinet. The talk of winning the cup for one of the world’s greatest batsmen ever has reached fever pitch and even Tendulkar’s team mates are talking about it.
But allowing such a sentiment to take over would only hurt India’s chances, feels the country’s only World Cup winning captain, Kapil Dev.
Speaking at a promotional event titled ‘Champions of the World’, Kapil criticised the suggestion that the Indian team would have an added motivation because they would want to win it for Tendulkar."Sachin is not the only one playing the World Cup. It is India that is playing. ‘Jitna important unke liye hai, utna hi important doosron ke liye bhi hain’ (Winning the World Cup is as important to others as it is to him)," said the all rounder.
“Yes, he is a great player and he has served the country the most. But by placing him above the team, you are insulting the other 14 members in the squad,” he added.
Former Australia skipper Steve Waugh, who was sharing the dais with Kapil, would only know too well how the sentiment factor can play up. Australia failed to reclaim the Border-Gavaskar trophy in 2003-4 when India toured Down Under. Experts blamed the nostalgia around Waugh’s final series after it ended in a 1-1 draw.
Waugh preferred not to comment on the ‘winning it for Tendulkar sentiment’. But along with all the other World Cup winning captains, he said India were the favourites on their home turf despite the potential of six other teams to lay their hands on the coveted trophy.
The turmoil in Pakistan cricket was also discussed. Their 1992 World Cup winning captain Imran Khan felt the Pakistan board has put the team in a disadvantageous position by not naming a captain yet.
“We don’t know who is going to be the captain of the team, three weeks before the first match. Everyone sitting here have won the World Cup and will tell you that it takes time to know your team, execute strategies and cope with pressure.”
Imran also felt the suspension of the pace duo — Mohammed Amir and Mohammed Asif — for alleged spot fixing was a bigger blow to Pakistan’s chances. “They are arguably the best fast bowling combination right now. And their absence will hurt.”