Kolkata: India's first World Cup winning skipper Kapil Dev Saturday termed M.S. Dhoni the country's best cricket captain, and said the recent Champions Trophy triumph showed the next generation of players have "arrived".
"I don't have to say that he is the best... everybody knows that... statistics, records speak for him. He has done a wonderful job. If you are asking me a question on this, you have a doubt, but I don't," Kapil told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
Kapil, who led India to the World Cup title in 1983, refused to take a question on Virat Kohli's performance as stand-in-skipper in the West Indies tri-nation tourney. "As long as Dhoni is there, we should not be talking about others. We have to respect Dhoni as captain," he said.
He said during the recent ICC Champions Trophy in England, he saw the youngsters from close range. "They did not have Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir or Virender Sehwag. There were no experienced players. Despite the absence of big names, we did not miss them. The next generation has arrived. They have played so well," he said.
Kapil Dev was speaking on the sidelines of the annual awards ceremony of the Cricket Association of Bengal.
Asked whether the Champions Trophy team should be retained for national duty during the 2015 World Cup, Kapil said: "I don't know how many of them will fit into the team. But I know we have enough young boys to go to the World Cup and win it."
Lavishing praise on Ravindra Jadeja, the former dashing all-rounder said the youngster has made a difference after he came to the side.
"He is a champion all-rounder. He has made a difference after he came in. He has raised the standards where fielding is concerned. Hats off to him! Great to have someone like him."
Kapil, however, said he did not feel that Indian coach Duncan Fletcher had done "extremely well".
"When India was not doing well, I was not harsh. I didn't say he did a horrible job when he lost to England and Australia. Now also I won't say he has done extremely well."
Kapil said sidelined senior pro Virender Sehwag should take up the challenge and try to make a comeback.
"Every cricketer should feel they can make a comeback. If not, then they are not fighters. They should take up the challenge," he said.