'BCCI could use cricketers much better'

Part four: Kapil Dev talks about his association with the ICL, and cricketers' involvement in the running of the game (00:00)

November 22, 2010


Interview: Kapil Dev

'BCCI could use cricketers much better'

November 22, 2010

Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev at a function celebrating the silver jubilee of the 1983 World Cup win, Bangalore, June 3, 2008
Kapil Dev: "Sunil Gavaskar was the one who made us think that you could make a life out of cricket" © AFP

Sharda Ugra: Coming back to your post-retirement career, when you look back do you think your involvement in the Indian Cricket League (ICL) was a mistake?

Kapil Dev: No, I think it was absolutely correct, and I don't think it was wrong. Because ICL has given a push to the cricketers, if IPL has come today it's a compliment to the ICL, so it's not something wrong. Yes, certain people have to sacrifice to get the best to a community, and that's fine, it's okay with me. I never ever felt bad about that. I felt it was a good thing as the sports community has gone up and now (there is) IPL. Earlier guys were only looking after 10-12 cricketers in India who used to make money, only top ten people; today 300-500 cricketers can make a living out of cricket. I am not unhappy, I am happy something new started and I think those types of leagues are going to come up in the country. Till today nobody gave us an explanation as to why ICL was bad. I think it was wonderful, but only thing was that you should come through the system. But the thing is that I am a cricketer, I am just teaching. Tomorrow if anybody comes up and says teach, I will teach. I don't have to take permission every time I teach cricket or try to organize cricket, and I fell very happy about it, I am not disappointed at all.

SU: Does what is happening with the IPL unsettle you then? That the Board is clamping down on cricketers...

KD: No, because I am not part and parcel of that. They asked me and even you asked me first time right now. I think they should look into that, but again 95% or 99% people sitting over there have not played cricket so I can't say anything. Their angle is commercial, they think that way, but as a cricketer - yes, the cricketer have to sit there and see what is right and what is wrong.

SU: You are saying that cricketers have to be involved in the IPL functioning in much more planned way than they are right now?

KD: Definitely without any doubt, and not just be there in the board, but cricketers have to take the front seat. Whatever I did in the ICL, I was ready to take a challenge in everything, and I was very successful and I was very happy about it. Yes, the company didn't survive because the board had much more money, and they created too many problems. But I think it was fabulous. Young boys who never thought that they would come on television in life, they played and it was televised. They had passion for the game and it was wonderful.

SU: Do you think that the Indian board has given you a chance to contribute directly as you would have liked to?

KD: Not really and that's the way they think, that's the only answer I have. They could use cricketers much better. Now if I look back, I don't think any cricketer is used in the manner I think they should be used.

SU: Just a couple of things, ten years ago, due to the match-fixing scandal, you lost your job as a coach.

KD: No, not because of that …

SU: So what happened to your job as coach?

KD: I think the coach has a responsibility, and if you think you want to do something then you should be given a free hand. You give a job but not the freedom, on top of that I thought it was better for me to walk out. You don't want to take the entire team with you. I felt I had to - to keep the game up to them, to do other things and try to handle my own problems. It was wonderful I enjoyed the experience. That was the era from which we can learn a lot, from all the negative things. Every person gets negative things, they learn from those negative things, and you become a positive person.

SU: So what did you learn out of that time, and how did you deal with everything … with all the investigation?

KD: Nothing, you (just) take it. I became much more educated in that sense, (about) my own personal income tax, taxes going through the government formalities. It was so much of an education to me, stuff that I never thought about in my entire life.

SU: What do think should be preventive measures in cricket against this, to stop it from happening again and again, illegal bookies, match-fixing … basically, what do we need to do ?

KD: Keep an eye. Basically you have to be there and try to have people who will take care of these young cricketers. So many young people don't have the right state of mind, so I think you need good people to handle them and keep talking to them. "Look this is what the life is all about, it is not negative, it is positive," those type of things. They need more lectures and more commitment towards true cricketers. Basically from senior cricketers who take pride to play for the country. I think pride is more important sometimes than making money.

SU: Looking back, do you think Sunil Gavaskar and you changed the way Indian cricketers were looked at how? At how the game was played? Even if you did have an up and down relationship...

KD: He changed it and I followed.

SU: In what way?

KD: I think in every way. First would be professionalism. Sunil was the one who made us think that you could make a life out of cricket, and I think (because) of that people like me who went 100 steps further, and believed that yes it's possible. Sunil was the biggest person at that moment in our lives, because he believed that you could make a life out of cricket and I think I followed much stronger and much harder. There is no difference (between us). A difference in opinion cannot be a different race to reach the top.

SU And who do you think has followed you?

KD: I don't know, because I just walked out. I think now the young boys are different, I think Sachin made such a difference financially that every parent in the country, started believing that you can play the game and make a life out of that. Then there was Sourav Ganguly, and all the other people in that team. Now Dhoni is now coming out with flying colours. The new generation is doing well, and it's so beautiful to know that.

SU: Kapil Dev, thank you very much.

KD: Thank you

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