Chennai: Former India captain and coach Kapil Dev spoke to The Telegraph at the Hyatt Regency on Friday evening.
Your thoughts at the end of the first day of the India-Australia series...
At 316/7 at close, I think Australia have more reason to be happy than India. Humne unko nikal jaane diya.
But we got two wickets before the close in the space of a few minutes...The massive Michael Clarke-Moises Henriques partnership did end, didn’t it?
Agreed, but look where Australia were at the fall of the fifth wicket.
Just how far did you expect Australia to go after Ravichandran Ashwin had reduced them to five down for 153?
I was hoping India would bowl them out for 230-240, at the most...Australia have gone past 300 and, with Clarke still there, their innings could stretch to 400. That would be a very good score on this wicket. I stress this wicket.
It was supposed to be Harbhajan Singh’s day, but Ashwin upstaged him so comprehensively...
Obviously, Ashwin bowled very well, but he could do even better with a slightly different line...It’s good that he didn’t try too many things, but kept it simple...In the Test series against England, Ashwin would try a lot of things...The doosra, the carrom ball...On a wicket such as this, all you need to do is bowl at one spot and the wicket will do the rest.
Did the pressure of yet another comeback and the 100th-Test milestone get to Harbhajan?
Harbhajan’s struggling...One reason for that being the loop of old is missing...I got the impression that he’d been playing a lot of limited overs cricket.
What about the pressure?
Instead of talking about the pressure, I’d say this is another opportunity for Harbhajan.
Your 100th Test was in Karachi over 23 years ago. What’s the stand-out memory?
(Laughs) That my 100th Test was Sachin Tendulkar’s debut! Nobody remembers my 100th, but everybody remembers his maiden Test...Not just stand-out, I suppose the Sachin debut is the only memory even I have of what surely was a landmark Test for me.
Having been wowed by young Bhuvneshwar Kumar in the ODIs and T20 Internationals, you must be happy that he’s made his Test debut...
Let me put it this way, I would have been happier had he made his debut on a helpful wicket...But theek hai, debut hua.
What’s your take on Clarke’s superb unbeaten 103?
Clarke has again led from the front and, clearly, is the world’s No.1 batsman at this point in time.
Captaincy hasn’t affected Clarke’s batting one bit...
He’s in the midst of a purple patch...That’s when nothing goes wrong.
We lost the last Test series at home, to England...Is there a favourite in this one?
I expect India to do well, but things could change if we can’t pull it back here with our batting...The England team, in my opinion, had more maturity than this Australian side.
Lastly...Is there a message for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men?
Bowling-wise, we’ve lost the plot...Now, get it right with the batting. If we don’t, then...