KOLKATA: Taking the liberty of tweaking one of the most iconic lines in Indian advertisement one would say: Kapil Dev da jawab nahin! A talk show, at lunch on the opening day of the 2nd Test bewteen India and New Zealand, conceived and brought to life by the CAB President Sourav Ganguly, got its zing via Kapil Dev’s straight talk.
“In our times the captains had limited power and confidence. The BCCI selction committee was all powerful. The panel called the shots. So it could give limited confidence to players,” said a candid Kapil, in reaction to Virender Sehwag, who said: “Sourav Ganguly made the team tick. The kind of confidence he gave the players made him special.”
Sourav cited Anil Kumble as the kind of teammate one needed in the dressing room. “He used to say give me runs on the board, I will get you the wickets. That would have a tremendous positive effect on the team.”
Sourav Ganguly later told, “It is for anecdotes like these that we hold these talk shows. This was brilliant. Every one was candid and there was so much fun. I plan to continue with these shows in Test matches.”
Asked if these would be a feature in the shorter versions of the game, he said: “No then the time is too short.”
Asked about the atmosphere, he said: “It was charged. People reacted to what we were saying. they had a great time. We had a great time. It was very well organised.”
Cut back to the show.
The talks veered on to the subject of what made a winning team, Sourav Ganguly said a team of winning players made for a team that became champions. “To have Virender Sehwag at the top and Anil Kumble in the bowling department really helped,” Sourav added.
Kumble, however, thought that the fabulous four (Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, V V S Laxman and Sourav Ganguly) that formed the spine of the batting made them the team that they were.
Kapil Dev said it was Sunil Gavaskar that gave the team that winning mentality. “Before that we were really defensive in our mindset,” he said.
Asked about most memorable moments in their career, cricket historian Boria Majumdar indicated Kapil Dev’s 175, Kumble’s 10 wickets, Sehwag’s 300 in Pakistan and Sourav’s 144 in Australia in Brisbane as acts on stage that one could never forget.
For Sehwag, the Headingly victory in 2002 that showed India could win overseas, was the most memorable moment. For Sourav, it was the Australia series at home in 2001 and the epic win at the Eden Gardens. For Kumble, Rahul Dravid’s innings at Adelaide was one of the innings he would not forget.
The talk show ended with a quickfire round and it was fun. In one of those anecdotes that make for cricket as a way of life, Sourav said that Laxman took the longest time to shower and get ready to bat. While Kapil remembered the 83 World Cup when he went for a shower and was called to pad up as India were reeling at five wickets for 17 runs. Sachin emerged as the most stylish player from the discussion.