Legendary Indian all-rounder and World Cup-winning skipper Kapil Dev on Monday was all praise for the Indian team and especially pacer Mohammed Siraj, who absolutely decimated Sri Lanka to help India win the eighth Asia Cup title. After speedster Mohammed Siraj’s fiery spell decimated Sri Lanka, the opening duo of Shubman Gill and Ishan Kishan’s flawless fifty-run partnership ensured India won Asia Cup by ten wickets. “Do you think I need to say anything more than what people are saying. What a fantastic cricket being played. I think as a cricketer I would like to see much closer games towards the World Cup but I think as a player dismiss them for 30 runs and win. But as a spectator, I would say it would be better if the game is close,” Kapil Dev said at a media event.
Siraj took 6/21 in seven overs to bundle out Lankan Lions for 50 runs in just 15.2 overs.
Kapil Dev said he has been wonderful. “I am so happy that in the sub-continent all 10 wickets are being taken by our fast bowlers. I think that it is the cherry on the cake. There was a time when we used to depend on spinners but it is not anymore. That is why the team has become so good.”
The former skipper said it is more important right now to make sure that India first qualifies for the semi-final of the ICC Cricket World Cup at home from October 5.
“I think if we come in the top 4, that is more important. You cannot say, right now, we are favourites. Our team is very good. We have to work very hard. I know about my team. I do not know about other teams…Indian team is ready to play and win the Championship. More than India winning the World Cup I want them to come out (to) dominate. I think that is what we look for in the future. I think the Indian team as far as I am concerned, are ready to play and win the World Cup,” he said.
Kapil Dev said that ahead of the World Cup, it is important to stay away from injuries and keep players safe.
“Everyone needs to be careful of injuries. Any team is badly affected if two of its players get injured. This is the reason why a stroke of luck is required. If your main player is injured then the entire team falls apart,” he said.
Answering a query related to Hardik Pandya, a pace-bowling all-rounder, he said, “Let us not talk about individuals. It is a team game”.
Asked about possible inclusion of players like Shikhar Dhawan and Ravichandran Ashwin, Kapil Dev said that selectors have a better understanding of the team.
“No need to talk about those who aren’t there. Selectors are better than us because they put their heads together and pick the best team… I think they collectively decided that this is the best team and we need to support them,” he said.
Kapil Dev lauded young opener Shubman Gill for his consistent performances as an opener this year. In the Asia Cup, he ended as the leading run-scorer with 302 runs in six matches at an average of above 75 with a century and two fifties.
“Shubman Gill is a youngster we all can look upto. Very very proud to have a player in Indian cricket of that ability,” he said.
With 1,586 runs in 34 international matches at an average of 49.56 with six tons and five fifties in 37 innings, Gill is India’s best batter this year. He has done well particularly in ODIs, scoring 1,052 runs in 18 matches at an average of 70.13, with four tons and four fifties. This includes a double century as well.
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