Jadeja has got better as batsman but his bowling has come down: Kapil Dev

Need to judge Dravid's performance only after three years, says the former India captain
India's Ravindra Jadeja gestures after scoring fifty runs during the day one of their first test cricket match with New Zealand in Kanpur, India, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021.(AP)
India's Ravindra Jadeja gestures after scoring fifty runs during the day one of their first test cricket match with New Zealand in Kanpur, India, Thursday, Nov. 25, 2021.(AP)
Published on Nov 26, 2021 05:40 PM IST
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Hair brushed back and falling lightly over his shoulder, Kapil Dev was here to talk about golf and support the ICC RCGC Open as a board member of the Indian professional tour. But though golf is a “new passion”, lack of domain knowledge made it “impractical” for him to talk on it, he said. So, the conversation with the media on Friday was largely on cricket, even though the sport has been only “five per cent” of his 62-year life.

To most questions, Dev offered no shot. He was no one to comment on whether India should play Pakistan in a bilateral series, he said. Asked whether Rohit Sharma should be made the ODI captain as well, Dev deadpanned, “he and Virat should play golf” before saying it didn’t really matter who led the team because “I believe in team work.” Rahul Dravid should be judged only after three years and Dev said he is keeping his fingers crossed that “he will do better as coach than as cricketer.”

And when someone tried tempting Dev by paraphrasing Ravi Shastri’s comment that the team he coached was the best, it was met with: “Do you doubt him?”

Dev did take the poser on India’s inability to win an ICC tournament since 2013. “Jinx? There is no jinx. I don’t mind if they come to the final, if they are among the top two-three teams. Australia has so much passion for cricket and it took them almost 15 years (14) to win the T20 World Cup. Wins will come if you keep trying harder and harder,” said the former India captain.

Asked on contemporary all-rounders, Dev said he follows cricket for fun now and so would restrict his answer to Indian players. “Ravindra Jadeja is a fabulous cricketer. Unfortunately he has improved a batsman but has come down as a bowler. When he started out, he was a far better bowler but now he is a far better batsman and every time India need him, he will get runs but he is not performing as a bowler as he used.”

Hardik Pandya, Dev said, cannot be counted as an all-rounder because he has “to do both jobs to be considered” one. “Let him bowl. He has come out of an injury and is an extremely important batsman for the country but he has to perform as a bowler before he can be judged as an allrounder."

Too much should not be read into Hanuma Vihari touring South Africa with India A, he said. “At least he has got a chance to play in South Africa. He will come back. I don’t think it will affect his zest to play. In our time, Mohinder Amarnath and Anshuman Gaekwad would make 20 comebacks.”

Shreyas Iyer has come out with “flying colours” scoring 105 on Test debut after waiting “four-five years to play”.

"Hopefully, he will do justice to the position.”

Dev, who had a heart attack in October 2020, said, “life is beautiful” now. “Never expected after retirement from cricket that I would have a life like this. I can actually say, my life is now one step better after I stopped playing cricket. Playing for the country is not everything. Cricket is five per cent (of my life). 95% of life is beautiful though it is that five per cent that led to this 95%.”


    Dhiman Sarkar is based in Kolkata with over two decades as a sports journalist. He writes mainly on football.

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