The rise of Jasprit Bumrah to the top of the world rankings (he leads the ODI charts) has been meteoric and surprised many. And India’s first World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev was no exception to this view.
Speaking at an event in Palladium Mall in Chennai for the launch of the world’s largest cricket bat, Kapil said, “When I saw him for the first time, I never thought he would have that much ability. I change my word and god, man, he is really fantastic.
“With such a short run-up, to generate pace with an awkward action is not very easy. I just want him to be fit for the next few years.”
Kapil added, “When you don’t have something and you get it, you feel proud about that. That’s what has happened to the Indian team.
“We always depended on batsman to win. But in the last 15 years, bowlers have started coming. It is always said bowlers win matches. The Indian team has reached the top because we not only have good batsman but also [good] bowlers.”
With the biggest clash of the World Cup upon us on Sunday when India takes on Pakistan, Kapil said that India would start as favourite to win the tie and keep its unbeaten record against its arch-rival in the quadrennial event.
“I would like to keep my fingers crossed and hope they keep on playing like they have been doing so far. The current Indian team is far better.
“When I was playing, they [Pakistan] were better than us but today I can say India will win seven out of 10 times.
“What happens on that day god knows, but I hope if the players play to the best of their potential, we can’t lose.”
The 60-year-old also came in defence of M.S. Dhoni for his decision to wear an army insignia on his wicketkeeping gloves that created a huge furore. Kapil was the first Indian cricketer to be made an honorary officer with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the territorial army, before Dhoni was made one.
“I respect Dhoni. He just showed his passion and love for his country and army people. There is nothing wrong in that. But at the same time, we have to follow the system and the rules set by the ICC. He must have not realised it was going to be such a big thing because the next day he said he will remove it.”