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A good chance to make history... The boys should go for it: Kapil

‘Temperament will come into play’
EXCLUSIVE
Kapil Dev

Dhaka: Kapil Dev, the first India captain to win a World trophy, the 1983 World Cup, spoke to The Telegraph (from Mumbai) on Saturday morning.

Excerpts...

QAre the two best teams in the World T20 final?

A Without a doubt. Teams don’t gatecrash into finals.

In the semi-final, against South Africa, India overcame a stiff target (173). Honestly, were you confident at the break?

Not when the India innings started, but after the first two overs... Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane gave a splendid start... Had it been 15 for one instead of 23 for no loss, your question would have been different.

Were you surprised that Shikhar Dhawan and Mohammed Shami weren’t recalled?

Of the two, I’d expected Shami to play. He’s more experienced and more aggressive (than Mohit)... But, then, the trend nowadays is to give somebody a run before leaving him out. I expect Shami to play in the final.

Sri Lanka won their semi-final, against the West Indies, on the D/L Method... But they were on track in any case...

Difficult to say... Dwayne Bravo had just got out and Darren Sammy had come in... In a semi-final or a final, you also need a stroke of luck... Maybe, the West Indies would have got lucky... Look at what Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli did in the 17th over in the semi-final... Those 17 runs made the difference. But what if Wayne Parnell had taken a wicket?

That was the turning point against South Africa...

Of course. India got lucky and there was Virat to take us home.

Does the past matter in a World final? Does history play a part?

The past is past... It’s how well you play on the day that matters... Don’t go by history alone.

So, what counts in a final?

Temperament. You’ll see that players with a big-match temperament invariably call the shots in a semi-final or a final. Virat, for example. Usually, talent-wise, little separates the finalists. It’s the temperament, or the lack of temperament, which matters.

India are on the verge of becoming the first team to hold all three international titles simultaneously. Your thoughts?

It’s a good chance to make history... The boys should go for it.

The obvious apart, what must India do?

Stay calm and not allow the moment to get the better of them. Calmness has its value.

Your take on Virat...

Virat wants to do well and is willing to accept the pressure, which is very pleasing.

What stands out?

Virat’s mindset... He’s clear in his head and responds to situations beautifully... He’s one of the best in the world and, by the time he finishes, which won’t be in a hurry, he’ll be remembered as an all-time great.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni allowed Virat to score the winning runs against South Africa...

It was a fine gesture.

The final will mark the end of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara’s T20 careers. Could that be an additional motivating factor for Sri Lanka?

Possible. But you could also say that the pressure may increase... Sure, they could lift their game, but the chance of extra pressure exists. As I’ve said, temperament will come into play.

Who are the key men for India?

Virat... Dhoni... Yuvraj Singh... (Ravichandran) Ashwin... Amit Mishra didn’t bowl well against South Africa, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a key man.

For Sri Lanka?

(Stand-in captain) Lasith Malinga, I reckon.

Dinesh Chandimal, Sri Lanka’s T20 captain was, it seems, asked to step down before the semi-final...

In my view, Chandimal doesn’t fit into the XI. I’d blame Sri Lanka’s selectors for having appointed somebody, who doesn’t walk into the team, as the captain. A captain has to hold his place, otherwise, how will he inspire?

Who are the players who’ve stood out in this World T20?

Virat, most certainly... Sammy... Rangana Herath, who looks to be Ashok Malhotra’s brother, had a great match (against New Zealand)... AB de Villiers, who is a champion in this format... He’s instinctively natural.

The last one... Do India start favourites?

Well... It’s 51-49 for India.