Chennai, Jan 9: ''Forget the performance in South Africa. Be optimistic about the World cup'', this was the message to Indian cricket team from the country's only World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev.
Kapil, the Goodwill Ambassador for Velammal Group of Schools, who was in the city to felicitate meritorious sportspersons from the school for winning laurels in various disciplines in Tamil Nadu and National level meets, said he did not believe in talking about the past.
''One has to think positively and not negatively. The Indian cricket team members should not be haunted by the performance in South Africa. The ensuing matches against the West Indies and Sri Lanka are very important for the World cup'', Kapil said in a brief interaction with the media today.
''The players should forget about the South Africa tour and concentrate on World cup, which is the dream of every Indian.
''The Indians should utilise the forthcoming ODIs against West Indies and Sri Lanka to rectify the mistakes they committed in South Africa. This will help a great deal in the preparations for the quadrennial event.'' ''Don't repeat the mistakes. The players has to perform well against West Indies and Sri Lanka and should be optimistic about winning the world cup'', he said.
Kapil, however, refused to be drawn into any controversy on the come back man Saurav Ganguly. ''No comments'', was his cryptic reply, when asked about Ganguly making a come back.
Observing that winning the World cup was every Indian's dream, Kapil said Indian players should prepare well to realise this dream. ''Everyone's dream is that India should win the World cup'', he added. Earlier, speaking after handing over scholarships to the tune of Rs 14,80,000 to the students at a function held at the Velammal Matriculation Higher Secondary School at Mugappair, Kapil exhorted the students to dream of achieving big in life.
Stating that Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi were his role models, he said this was the right age for the students to think big, set goals and work hard to acheive them, irrespective of the field they had chosen.
''The 2011 World cup is going to be held in India and I wanted to see at least one cricketer from this school to be in the team'', Kapil added.
Later responding to questions from students, Kapil, who had spent a few hours in the school, said age was no bar in choosing cricket (or any other field) as a career.
''You can learn when you are two years old. You can also learn when you are 20. Cricket is a game for youth. The dedication is more important. Never give up. Grab the chance when you get it'', he said.
On his goal while started playing cricket, Kapil said his goal was to play for India and lead the team. ''At one stage, I achieved it. But the goals and targets keeps on changing every time. The goal should be to keep on improving every time'', he added.