Kapil Dev bats for minnows

Kapil Dev bats for minnows

Indian legend backs Afghans’ India plans

By Alex Leach (senior Reporter)

Published: Fri 24 Apr 2015, 12:51 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:43 PM

Indian cricket legend Kapil Dev during the Icons Cup golf event at the Creek and Yacht Golf Club in Dubai on Thursday. — KT photo by Shihab

Dubai — Kapil Dev has given his unequivocal backing to potential plans to have the Afghanistan national team play their ‘home’ matches in his native country.

Afghan president Ashraf Ghani is to make his first visit to India next week, when it’s believed a new base for the side will be among the many items on the agenda designed to strengthen diplomatic ties between the two nations.

Afghanistan’s home games are currently staged in Sharjah here in the UAE as the lingering security concerns in their war-torn country deter international teams from playing there at present.

“I love it! I love it!” commented Indian legend Dev, who is currently representing the Rest of the World in the Icons Cup here at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club.

“With the rough time they have gone through, it would be wonderful to see Afghanistan come out and play international cricket anywhere. When these minor countries come out and play, it’s wonderful. The smaller countries have to play a lot more cricket – that’s most important. If you don’t really make them play, then you’re only really playing with eight teams. That’s not good.

“You have to find – and give – opportunities to these young teams. I hope they’ll do well. I’d definitely like to see all of the young teams come out and play and that goes for anybody. It’s not a matter of which team. If they play well, they must come out.” None of the four associate nations made it through to the quarterfinals of the Cricket World Cup earlier this year, with the Afghans, Ireland, Scotland and the UAE all failing to reach the quarterfinals and exiting at the group stage with England and Zimbabwe.

India expectedly fared a lot better, topping Pool B with a 100 per cent record and going on to reach the semifinals, where they lost by 95 runs to the eventual champions Australia – an encouraging showing that bodes well for the future.

“There were definitely a lot of positives to take away from the World Cup for India without any doubt,” Dev said. “A lot of people didn’t give India a chance of reaching the semifinals, but they played well and lost in the last four to a better team so you respect that.”

Virat Kohli’s displays in Australia and New Zealand came under the microscope and it would appear his suitability as India’s Test captain is being scrutinised now, with former Australian skipper Steve Waugh insisting a “too emotional” Kohli needs to mature and learn from his predecessor, MS Dhoni.

However, Dev is adamant Kohli will develop as a leader with time and that he is still the right man for the job. “No captain is mature enough when he takes the captaincy, but – over a period of time – they get mature,” he added.

“Look at Allan Border, Ricky Ponting or Steve Waugh, they weren’t very mature, but – once they were captains over a period of time – they became much better. He is the only name we have. He has been the vice-captain and hanging round there, so that’s the right person. It’s the selectors’ choice as people who have played cricket. If they think that’s good enough, that’s good enough.”


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