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Since 1st March, 1999
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Give Dhoni captaincy in all forms: Kapil
- Indiaís World Cup-winning captain on the Twenty20 triumph
Kapil Dev

Calcutta: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has declared Kapil Dev as persona non grata, but the Sharad Pawars canít take away his achievement of captaining India to their only conventional limited-overs World Cup triumph, in 1983.

On Monday, however, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (who was a couple of weeks short of his second birthday when Kapil lifted the World Cup at Lordís) also held aloft a world crown ó the inaugural Twenty20 at the Wanderers.

Less than 24 hours after Indiaís latest jumbo achievement, Kapil (who heads the frowned-upon Indian Cricket League) spoke to The Telegraph over the phone from New Delhi.

The following are excerpts

On his thoughts when Joginder Sharma began the finalís last over

The match couldíve gone either way... It had come down to the wire...

On whether he wouldíve given the last over to Joginder

Thatís a difficult question... I canít say... What I will is that I wouldnít have criticised Dhoni had the move failed. After all, Iíve always believed that people have to respect the captainís judgement... Dhoni gave Joginder the ball because he had confidence in him... It was a big step, quite as big as getting debutant Yusuf Pathan to open the innings.

On his reaction after Sreesanth caught Misbah-ul Haq

I was in a TV studio and we began dancing... It was a great moment... Bahut khushi hui...

On the World Cup win and the World Twenty20 triumph

The 1983 World Cup is always going to be very special for us Indians... Last nightís Twenty20 win will also be very special... The 1983 victory was an extraordinary moment in our history. Equally, the Twenty20 success is going to be remembered as a beautiful chapter.

On what made the difference in the Twenty20 final

Our superior running between the wickets... We ran the singles well and converted ones into twos, while the Pakistanis chose to rely on big hits. That didnít work, adding to pressure. The run out (Imran Nazirís) didnít help either.

On the pressure factor in Indo-Pak matches

Itís always there and Dhoni did well to bat first... On the big occasions, itís better to set a target and get the opposition to do all the chasing.

On Dhoniís captaincy

A year back I told you (in Kuala Lumpur) that Dhoni was captaincy material... He wasnít even the vice-captain then... He has done well and, today, no questions are being asked as to who should be captain for the next four-five years... The Board has retained him for the ODIs against Australia and Pakistan but, where Iím concerned, Dhoniís the India captain... Iím not in favour of captains being appointed for no more than a couple of seriesí... It doesnít make sense for the sword to be hanging over a captainís head. How would the selectors feel if the Board appointed them for just two seriesí'

On whether heís suggesting that the Test captaincy should also be given to Dhoni

Absolutely... If required, remove him after three months, but give Dhoni the captaincy in all forms... Thereís only one chief executive in an organisation... So, let there be one India captain too, somebody with such a positive approach.

On Dhoniís style

Heís a cool person and knows how to exercise authority... That was evident when, in one of the matches, Dinesh Karthik also tried to run across and have a word with the bowler. Dhoni, who wasnít íkeeping, signalled for Karthik to stay put behind the wickets... The chemistry between Dhoni and his teammates is excellent and, so, they responded to every call of his. Itís pretty clear that the team is looking up to the captain.

On whether he intends meeting Dhoni in the next few days

Look, it was early last year (during the tour of Pakistan) that Iíd said Dhoni is my hero... That hasnít changed one bit... I donít know when Iíll meet him, but I wish to emphasise that heís got to tread carefully as, now, people have expectations... The pre-World Twenty20 scenario has changed. Thereís more responsibility on his shoulders and, through The Telegraph, I wish him well.

On whether he intends wooing Dhoni on behalf of ICL

(Laughs) For now, let him play for India... When the time comes, Iím going to take you into confidence!

On the Indian players who stood out in the Twenty20

Yuvraj Singh certainly... (Rudra Pratap) Singh and Gautam Gambhir did very well... I think both were under-estimated by our opponents... Young (Rohit) Sharma showed character and seems to have a bright future.

On whether the way forward is to invest in youth

Thatís something to look at, particularly when you have such an aggressive and successful bunch of youngsters.

On India winning the recent Test series in England and the World Twenty20 without a full-fledged coach

Havenít I been saying that a coach isnít needed at the highest level' We need a good man manager, a good communicator.

Finally, on whether the huge interest generated by the just-ended Twenty20 will boost his own Twenty20-driven ICL

(Laughs again) This form is definitely going to grow in popularity and will catch on even in the remotest corners...

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