Calcutta: Having authored an epic one-day hundred ó unbeaten 175 versus Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup ó Kapil Dev knows a thing or two about masterly batting. And, so, while the accolades wonít stop coming Adam Gilchristís way for an out of this world 149 on Saturday, he may actually cherish Kapilís compliment (ďonce in a lifetime inningsĒ) the most.
Kapil, Indiaís only (and Asiaís first) World Cup-winning captain, spoke to The Telegraph on the morning after Australia and Gilchrist created history.
The following are excerpts
On Australia winning three World Cups in a row
They looked the best and dominated from the first ball to the last. Nobody really challenged them and theyíre worthy winners.
On losing finalists Sri Lanka
The impression I got is that their bowlers were too keen to win... ĎWeíve got to do ití is what came through in their body language when, in fact, the focus should have been on producing another good game of cricket... To cite an example, Iíd never seen (Chaminda) Vaas bowl so badly... The Sri Lankansí approach reminded me of what our bowlers did in the 1987 semi-final (against England, in Mumbai). Sure, youíve got to be positive, but also calm and disciplined. Having said that, credit to the Sri Lankans for fighting it out... They had their moments while chasing such a stiff target.
On whether Mahela Jayawardene slipped up on the power plays
No... With Gilchrist batting the way he did, what couldíve been done'
On whether heís happy that at least one Asian team made the final
Nationalities donít matter... What pleases me is quality cricket.
On when can the Australians be toppled
(Laughs) Canít say... Itís not just about players, but having an excellent system in place.
On whether the current Australians are on a par with the West Indians led by Clive Lloyd from the mid-Seventies to the mid-Eighties
Comparisons will be made, but the eras are different... The laws have changed, the cricket gear has changed... The calendar has changed too. The West Indies were great then, the Australians are great now.
On MoM Gilchristís blast
What a performance! I enjoyed it... Gilchrist played like a dream... It was a once in a lifetime innings... Iím not only referring to the number of runs he got, but the manner in which he got them... Such was his dominance that the in-form (Matthew) Hayden, at the other end, looked like someone totally out of place... Not for a moment did it seem as if Gilchrist had been short on big runs going into the final.
On whether the Sri Lankans paid for possibly underestimating Gilchrist and focusing on Hayden
If they did, they ought not to have... Gilchrist is a matchwinner and youíll be inviting trouble if you keep somebody like him out of your planning. That wouldnít be being professional.
On whether he has seen a better one-day innings
Please donít get me into this business of comparing one with the other... Viv (Richards) had a great one in the 1979 final versus England... Aravinda (de Silva) was superb in the 1996 final against Australia and (Ricky) Ponting had been brilliant in the 2003 final, when we were at the receiving end... Sachin (Tendulkar) has produced great hundreds... Of course, Gilchristís stands out because itís the latest. Itís so fresh.
On the captain who impressed him the most
New Zealandís (Stephen) Fleming... I liked the way he went about business in a composed and firm manner... Itís sad that he has quit as ODI captain.
On Glenn McGrath closing shop
For me, heís the ultimate champion... People in Australia revere (Sir Don) Bradman as their greatest cricketer, but McGrath is on a par... And, what a last effort! Over and over again, he showed the difference between the good and great.
On McGrath being adjuged Player of the Tournament
The right choice... It couldíve been tough had Hayden got a hundred in the final, but thatís about it.
On the lessons for India from the 2007 World Cup
(Laughs again) If one wishes to, then a lot of things can be learnt from a failed campaign... I wonít go into details, but itís important to appreciate that the team counts, not individuals.
On Richardsí comment (after the first semi-final) that the ďstandard of cricket is decliningĒ
The standard of the West Indies is definitely declining! As for the rest, I donít think so... Every now and then records are being created... Landmarks keep getting erased... This shows improvement... Shows the game is moving forward...
Finally, his most abiding memory
The ads on TV! There were so many... Sometimes we just saw the first five balls of an over... On other occasions, we didnít see the first... The ICC needs to look into this... The broadcasters, I reckon, had no choice as they had to recover the massive amount paid for the rights... What about the viewers, though'