Class-act Sachin can bat at any position & score

Published: Monday, February 3, 2003, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi: Even as the argument continues over master batsman Sachin Tendulkar's position in the batting order, Kapil Dev, India's only World Cup winning captain in 1983, on Monday said a batsman of Tendulkar's class can play at any position in the batting order.

"A batsman of Tendulkar's class can bat at any position be it at number one or number 11. Since he is the best he should not bother about his position," Kapil told reporters here on the sidelines of Kinetic launching the cricket variant of 'Boss' motorcycle. Ever since skipper Saurav Ganguly pushed Tendulkar down the order last season and propelled Virender Sehwag to open alongside him, there were reports that the master batsman is more comfortable at the top of order dictating terms to the opposition.

Kapil also said skipper Saurav Ganguly is passing through a lean patch but hastened to add that rough patches were part of every cricketer's career. "His performance can be doubted in the last series (against New Zealand). But he is a class player with 19 hundreds. In 1983, the whole team together did not have 19 tons," said Kapil, who had also worked as team coach. Asked to pick a player who would star for India, the Wisden Indian cricketer-of-the- century, said, "All 15 players are stars to me."

It was the same in 1983 when we played and won as a team, he said. "If we can win in '83 when we were given only a 66 to 1 chance, this team which is given a 3 to 1 or 5 to 1 rating, has more chances. They just have to play with passion. "We may pray, wish but in the end it all depends on how the 15 players wearing the Indian shirts pull up... for themselves and for every body," he said. Asked whether India would miss stylish batsman V V S Laxman and left-arm spinner Murali Karthik, Kapil sarcastically said, "The team would miss even me and Sunil Gavaskar. The selectors have picked the best 15.

I will not doubt them." On the sky high expectations of the fans, he said it was partly due to India's superb performance last season. "We were joint winners along with Sri Lanka at the ICC Champions Trophy and we scored a superb win in England (NatWest Trophy in July). True we expect a lot but only because they have proved themselves. It has given us the hope," he said. On Pakistan fast bowler Sarfaraz Nawaz's comment that there would be match-fixing at cricket's quadrennial show piece event, Kapil said, "say thank you to him".

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