The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘I’m going to take Sunny’s guidance’
- There’s no awkwardness, says Kapil Dev

Calcutta: World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev, appointed to chair the National Cricket Academy (NCA) board on Wednesday, intends seeking the “guidance” of his predecessor — Sunil Gavaskar, also a former captain and, like him, a giant among cricketers.

“There’s no awkwardness that I’ve replaced Sunny… The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) appointed him, now they’ve appointed me… In fact, I’m going to take Sunny’s guidance… Both of us have the good of Indian cricket at heart… There’s no other agenda,” Kapil told The Telegraph.

Speaking from the “Far East” on Thursday, he added: “However, before talking to Sunny, I want to be clear about my role… I need to understand what the thinking is (within the BCCI)… More important, I’ve first got to chat with colleagues on the board. I need to understand them, too.”

According to Kapil, he won’t call for discontinuing any programme initiated by Gavaskar (who replaced Raj Singh Dungarpur when Jagmohan Dalmiya became the BCCI president in 2001) only because of a change at the top.

“If Sunny started something good, then my view is that it should be promoted in a big way… Of course, I can’t say more till I’ve spoken to the board members.”

Asked if he would like the Bangalore-located NCA to function like Cricket Australia’s Centre of Excellence (widely called the Academy) in Brisbane, Kapil replied: “No… It must be driven by Indian values… We have a rich tradition, in cricket and outside of it… The NCA should be unique as, given our diversity, we’re a pretty unique country.”

Trust him to take that line.

The ruling Sharad Pawar group, it may be recalled, wanted to replace Gavaskar last year itself, but there was “pressure” from the Mumbai Cricket Association (incidentally, also headed by the Union minister) to maintain status quo.

Obviously, Gavaskar — viewed by many in the BCCI as having been “too close” to the cornered Dalmiya — lost much ground in the last ten months.

It would have been much nicer, though, had Gavaskar been given the opportunity to step down. That he remains the technical committee chief won’t lessen his embarrassment.

Stalwarts (past and present) must be treated with respect.

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