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'There can never be another Kapil Dev'

Source: PTI
January 30, 2018 16:53 IST
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Former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin says few players can replicate the workload the World Cup-winning skipper managed during his playing days.

Hardik Pandya

IMAGE: Hardik Pandya's brilliant knock in the first Test against South Africa on a difficult track fuelled comparison between him and the great Kapil Dev. Photograph: BCCI

Former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin says there cannot be another Kapil Dev, amid growing comparisons between Hardik Pandya and the World Cup-winning skipper.

Pandya's whirlwind innings of 93 in the first Test against South Africa on a difficult track at Cape Town gave further fuel to the comparison between him and Dev.

"It is not advisable to do that. It is not good because there can never be another Kapil Dev. It is very difficult to get another Kapil Dev, as the amount of hard work and workload he took over a period of time -- he used to bowl 20-25 overs in a day -- not many people can do it now," the 54-year-old told reporters at the sidelines of a school event in Kolkata on Tuesday.

India suffered humiliating back-to-back defeats in the first and second Tests against South Africa but bounced back to win the final Test on the back of a splendid bowling show.

Terming the result as "unlucky", Azharuddin said: "The bowlers won the last Test match. They really put South African batsmen under pressure. We were bit unlucky that we could not get the series our way.

"It is good that we won the last Test. We redeemed our prestige. The team played very well in tough conditions. It was not an easy wicket to play on.

"They batted well, bowled well; everything clicked together. I am very happy with the team's victory. In the ODIs, hopefully, our batting will click and we will win the series."

On the debatable issue of dropping Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the second Test, and not playing Ajinkya Rahane till the third Test, Azharuddin said: "I think they could have been played, but the captain and the team thinks in a different way. Outside everybody in India thinks they should have played."

He also praised captain Virat Kohli for his leadership skills, saying his records speak for him.

With Prithvi Shaw's team on a roll in the Under-19 World Cup after their 203-run thrashing of Pakistan, Azharuddin expressed hope India winning a fourth title.

"All the best boys. They have done the nation proud. Today's game -- to get a team all out for 69 speaks volumes of the talent they possess. I hope they comeback with the World Cup."

Asked about Shubhman Gill and Kamlesh Nagarkoti, the two Under-19 star performers striking it rich in the IPL auctions, he said: "It is always good to give them opportunities when they are doing well. Look at Pandya and Bumrah."

Azharuddin, who is at loggerheads with the Hyderabad Cricket Association after charges were levelled against him by president G Vivek, was barred from attending the SGM earlier this month.

"I will meet (the Committee of Administrators’ chairman) Vinod Rai. He was travelling and I was not able to have a word with him. I will definitely like to give back to the game, whether it will be coaching or as an administrator," he said.

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