Twenty20 no problem for Kapil~~s Devils, believes Sunny

Published: Friday, June 27, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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The likes of Srikkanth and batting all-rounders Jimmy and Shastri were taylor-made for T20 formatLondon: India's 1983 cricket World Cup-winning side would have fared well in Twenty20, the new and faster-paced form of the game, members of the triumphant team said.

With the entire squad reuniting at Lord's Cricket Ground for a dinner to commemorate 25 years since their stunning victory over a powerhouse West Indies side in the final at the London ground, opener Sunil Gavaskar and all-rounder Ravi Shastri both said the team would have adjusted to the more frenetic style of Twenty20.

"I think they would have done very well," Gavaskar told AFP.

"The biggest advantage of this 1983 side is the all-rounders they have.

"If you have a look at the all-rounders we have -- Mohinder Amarnath, Kirti Azad, Madan Lal, Roger Binny and," he said, nodding towards then captain Kapil Dev, "above all, Kapil ... which meant we had the flexibility to keep on making bowling changes.

It was Amarnath and Lal, in particular, who rescued India in the final against the West Indies, with each taking three wickets -- Lal snatched the prized scalp of Vivian Richards, while Amarnath was named man-of-the-match.

That depth and flexibility would have served the team well in Twenty20, Gavaskar noted: "If somebody was getting a pasting, because of the all-rounders, you can give that bowler a bit of a break."

Shastri, meanwhile, said he believed the best sides would always emerge, regardless of the format, telling AFP that "a good side is a good side", describing the World Cup-winning XI as "one of the greatest teams ever."

"They (the 1983 side) would have adapted. If they could have adapted to 50-50 (a one-day international), then why not Twenty20?"

Dev agreed, noting that "if you can play 50 overs, then you can play 20 overs."

Twenty20 cricket, which features just 40 total overs, has proved to be a crowd-puller.

While some observers believe it threatens the long-term future of Tests and one-day internationals, Gavaskar joined the likes of England great Ian Botham in saying they are all complementary.

"Just the same way that 50 overs cricket impacted positively on Test cricket, made it far more attractive, made it far more result-oriented ... I think Twenty20 will make 50 overs a lot more attractive," the former India captain insisted.

"You'll probably see more 300-plus scores regularly now in 50 overs than ever before, or maybe even 350," Gavaskar, who recently stepped down as chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) cricket committee added.

The ICC said last week it would explore options to preserve interest in five-day Tests in the face of Twenty20's growing popularity.

The options, including proposals to hold a Test championship, will be discussed by the governing body when its board meets in Dubai from June 29.

After speaking to reporters, Dev's men gathered to once again hoist aloft the 1983 World Cup trophy, which has been on display in the Lord's museum.


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