Fitness is vital than getting wickets: Kapil

Published: Friday, June 11, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Bangalore:Legendary Indian all-rounder Kapil Dev on Friday said guarding the body against injuries and keeping fit to ensure endurance while playingholds key for cricketers in the present era as workload was on the rise.

Kapil, who has donned the role of a bowling consultant after Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) named him to finetune the speedsters skills, sounded his first caution to players, saying "getting 100 runs or five wickets is not important. Keeping your body fit is very important to play longer".

Refusing to be drawn into a debate on whether he would favour appointment of a bowling coach, he remarked, "I am not interested in those talks". He asserted that he would confine his activity to pass on to players whatever he has learnt from others and for himself so far.

Kapil, who drove straight to the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) ground soon after his arrival in Bangalore, got into the act, giving tips to bowlers currently undergoing training in a camp for pace bowlers and later held them together in a class room for a theoretical orientation on bowling aspects.

In a chat with the press after about 90-minute workout with the players, Kapil, when asked how much of his tips have helped the bowlers during the recent Pakistan tour, said "it is their own ability", apparently pointing to Indian's historic feat in the series.

Kapil, who laid emphasis on fitness of players, which has become a major issue of late, declined to rate the level of fitness of players and said, "in one or two days we can't say anything. I think for fitness they have to work very hard individually as per their body strength".

"So fitness depends on how much one works hard and there is no shortcut for hard work or to become a champion," he added.

Kapil who also stressed the vital role the yoga played in strengthening players, however said the level of fitness varied from individual to individual.

On his current assignment, Kapil said, "whatever I have learnt, I will pass on my knowledge. If they are ready to take it, I leave it to them. If they apply, it is good enough. My job is try to give them whatever I have learnt for myself and from others. Rest is for them to work hard".

The Wisden Century Cricketer awardee said it was important to put the players on a right path and guide them the path they should take and allow them to work.

Kapil said the workload has been increasing slowly on the players, while referring to hectic playing schedules they go through in recent times and suggested to them that they have to work themselves on their body to keep fit, as "nobody knows that their body would be knowing".

He hastened to add that all the players were highly conscious of their fitness. On the problems of injuries, he said the players have to be cautious in avoiding injuries.

Commenting on the cricketers training camp, Kapil appreciated the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) initiatives in this regard.

He said the weather conditions and also that of the pitch are good in Bangalore and hoped the rains will not play a spoilsport, while keeping in mind the next training schedules drawn for the players.

Kapil said such camps would help players to rectify mistakes that occurred earlier and improve.

The cream of Indian cricketers including captain Sourav Ganguly would be arriving in the city for a week long fitness camp.

Eighteen players selected for the camp would arrive in Bangalore on Saturday morning and six bowlers are already undergoing training since June 7.

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