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‘Pick for today, not tomorrow’

- Don’t pull down players of the calibre of Dhoni, says Kapil Dev
Kapil Dev, in the city, on Tuesday. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: Former India captain and coach Kapil Dev, among the most iconic of cricketers, spoke to The Telegraph on Tuesday afternoon.

The interview was conducted before India got knocked out of the Asia Cup.

Excerpts...

India faring poorly overseas...

The youngsters/less experienced players are feeling the pressure. Also, expectations have grown... They need to come out of this stronger. Only then will they be real cricketers. Winning isn’t difficult, but the team’s confidence is at such a low.

Accountability...

It’s for the Board to take a call (on the support staff) and for the selectors to look at the accountability of players. I’m neither an official of the Board, nor am I a selector.

Sunil Gavaskar tearing into the team’s work ethic...

I’m not in Dhaka and I haven’t been travelling with the team, so I can’t comment. Sunil’s there... All I’ll say is that we should respect his views.

Optional practice...

Everything, including optional practice, is fine as long as the team is winning. Lose and everything begins to look wrong.

Script not changing even with a stand-in captain, Virat Kohli...

We have an established captain (Mahendra Singh Dhoni)... Virat is one of our finest players and he shouldn’t be thinking too much about the captaincy. In fact, people shouldn’t give him ideas, as happened with some individuals in the 1980s.

Kohli as captain...

I’m not going to judge him at this stage.

Dhoni’s captaincy...

It’s different... If you don’t like Dhoni, then dump him, but please don’t keep discussing his captaincy. When we won the 2011 World Cup, people said he could be the CEO of any company. Now, when we’re not winning, people have a very different line. Don’t pull down players of the calibre of Dhoni. He’s human, after all.

Yuvraj Singh not finding a place in ODIs...

Would you have asked about Yuvraj had India been winning? No... In recent times, I haven’t seen a more talented player than Yuvraj... But are the selectors not picking him on purpose? My view is that performance alone must count.

Stuart Binny looking out of depth in ODIs...

I won’t blame Binny. The selectors picked him, he didn’t pick himself.

India’s bowling...

Inconsistent.

If the focus is already on the 2015 World Cup instead of looking at the present...

That’s an issue, for sure. I keep saying that win today, only then look at tomorrow. If you keep planning for tomorrow, then that tomorrow never comes. Getting into a winning habit is more important than planning for the future. For things to fall in place, win.

Finally, if he has a message for the players...

For the selectors, yes... Pick the team for today, not for tomorrow. It has to be today first, tomorrow comes later.