Former India captain Kapil Dev says the iconic Sachin Tendulkar “did not know how to make double hundreds, triple hundreds and 400 though he had the ability” to scale such peaks and was “stuck in the Mumbai school of cricket”.
“Don’t get me wrong, but I think Sachin didn’t do justice to his talent. I always thought he could have done much more than what he did,” Dev was quoted as saying by the ‘Khaleej Times’.
“He (Sachin) got stuck with Bombay cricket. He didn’t apply himself to the ruthless international cricket. I think he should have spent more time with Vivian Richards than some of the Bombay guys who played just neat and straight cricket.
“Sachin was a much better cricketer but somewhere along the line he just knew how to score hundreds. He didn’t know how to make it a double hundred, or a triple or even 400s,” added the 1983 World Cup winning India captain. The great all-rounder, under whose captaincy India won its maiden World Cup in 1983, said he would have advised Tendulkar to play like Virender Sehwag.
“He (Sachin) had the ability. He was technically sound but I felt he was there to get his hundred and that’s it. Unlike Richards, Sachin wasn’t ruthless, he was more of a perfect, or rather correct cricketer. Had I spent more time with him I would have told him ‘go enjoy yourself, play like Virender Sehwag’. You will be a much better cricketer.”
The 56-year-old Dev made these remarks before a select crowd at the Cove Beach Club at Jumeirah Hotel in Dubai alongside three other cricketing icons — Shane Warne, Wasim Akram and Ian Botham. Spin legend Warne remarked that Tendulkar was special.
“He is a wonderful player and in my 20-odd years of playing, he is the best batsman that I played against. The expectations he was under and the skill he had against fast and spin. The way he judged the balls. He was great for the game of cricket and he was a fantastic and wonderful player. He dominated bowlers in the mid-90s and he was just outstanding against any bowler. He also played exceptionally well against Australia,” said Warne.
“I now see Sachin’s different side as I am now doing business with him. He is a wonderful friend,” he added.Pace bowling great Akram regretted for having played much against Tendulkar. “One of the regrets Waqar Younis and I had as a bowler is that we never played Test cricket against Tendulkar for nearly 10 years,” he said. “We played against Sachin when he made his debut in 1989 when he was 16 and then, we played Tests against Sachin in 1999 in India. As Warne said, he was the best in the game and 100 international hundreds speaks volumes of his talent.”
When the former greats were asked to name the best they had played against, Kapil said: “I think Viv in my time is the best I have seen. More than his cricket, it was the way he played the game and his attitude. I loved to take his wicket all the time.”
Botham echoed similar sentiments: “Viv Richards is certainly the best player I have seen in all formats of the game. I don’t think there has been anyone better. I remember in Old Trafford we left him in the raps and Michael Holding came out to bat and 200 runs later, Richards was 189 not out — which was obscene. You bowl him outside the off stump with a packed field, and he will flick you into the grandstand on the leg side. He never read the MCC coaching annual.”
Akram added: “When I started out, it was the great Viv Richards and the Little Master Sunil Gavaskar. I got out him out only once. In the 90s, it was (Brian) Lara and Tendulkar.”