I'd place Sehwag with Sunny, Sachin and Rahul, says Kapil

Mumbai: Kapil Dev, India's first captain to win a World Cup (1983), spoke to The Telegraph at the Wankhede on Friday afternoon.

The following are excerpts

Q Surprised that India chose to play only one new-ball bowler ' Zaheer Khan?

A Well, (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni took a big gamble on winning the toss. It came off... But, if he'd lost the toss, India could have been in a spot of bother... I suppose Virat Kohli would have shared the new ball with Zaheer, but that wouldn't have been the ideal situation.

Fine. What would you have done?

If I had a Sourav Ganguly in the XI, I would also have taken three spinners... Otherwise, my attack would have been 2-2... Sourav could bowl 10-15 overs and had the ability to pick up a wicket or two... Generally speaking, I'd get Yuvraj (Singh) to bowl more.

The Test here marks Harbhajan Singh's comeback at the very highest level, after 15 months. Despite having 406 wickets in Test cricket, he's had to wait...

But so what? Just because so many wickets have been taken or so many runs have been scored by somebody shouldn't alone guarantee a place for him. If somebody has to be dropped or be made to wait for his chance, so be it.

So, nobody is indispensable. Is that it?

I'd say the team comes first.

This is Virender Sehwag's 100th Test. Did you think that somebody with his approach would actually reach this landmark?

I certainly didn't expect Sehwag to maintain this tempo... Just look at him... He began his 100th Test with a 50-plus average and 23 hundreds... An average of over 50, across 100 Tests, is exceptional. How many have it? Bowling ka mazaaq bana deta hai.

Where would you place Sehwag in the list of all-time Indian greats?

I'd place him with Sunny (Sunil Gavaskar), Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul (Dravid)... Dilip Vengsarkar and (V.V.S.) Laxman, to name two, come later.

What, for you, is special about Sehwag?

The way he bats, unconcerned about the situation... If Sehwag had Sachin's temperament, he would have scored 40 Test hundreds.

You're also a member of the 100 Tests' club, having played 131 matches. What are your memories of the landmark-reaching Test (Karachi, November 1989)?

(Laughs) I remember that Test because it was Sachin's debut... I was the third Indian (after Gavaskar and Vengsarkar) to get there... I don't think there was a celebration.

Is there anything else you remember of that Test?

That Azhar (Mohammed Azharuddin) wasn't supposed to be in the XI, but Raman Lamba had an injury and, so, he kept his place. Azhar didn't look back after that. In fact, he became the captain from the very next series, in New Zealand.

While on Azhar, the Andhra Pradesh high court has struck down as "illegal" and "unsustainable" the life ban slapped on him for match-fixing by the Board. What should the Board do now? It hasn't firmed its response...

Look, I'm nobody to advise the Board.

But you've consistently been supporting Azhar, isn't it?

For what he's done as a cricketer.

What's your take on Cheteshwar Pujara, who is averaging an astonishing 361.00 in this series?

Pujara's on the right track... Obviously, he's in form, but I won't compare him to anybody. He'll have to continue being consistent, for consistency is the hallmark of truly good players.

It's pleasing the way Pujara has grabbed his chance...

Always nice when somebody young makes use of the opportunities.

Dhoni wants rank turners. As a former captain yourself, what do you have to say?

All captains like to have the home advantage... Depends on the curators. In any case, khali bolne se kuch nahin hota.

Lastly, some words on Michael Clarke. How do you rate him?

Clarke isn't the most attractive batsman to watch, but look at his form this year! Scoring double hundreds is coming so easy to the Australia (Test and ODI) captain.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Rajasthan Royals vs Kings XI Punjab

On Now: Rajasthan Royals vs Kings XI Punjab

GAME 7, SHARJAH—Fifties from Watson, Samson power Rajasthan to a big score. More »

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

The Nawab of Najafgarh says a good run in IPL could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June. More »

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Some members stressed on the need for proposing names with an "impeccable record and clean image". More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

Five things England must do to bounce back

Five things England must do to bounce back

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusiast.” More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as coach

Moores gets second stint as coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »