Former India captain Kapil Dev has said that M S Dhoni's men have the capability to win the World Cup next year provided the team hits upon the right combination of players, settles them and keeps the bowlers in tip-top condition. Kapil, who was captain of the Indian team which ensnared the 1983 World Cup by upsetting the mighty West Indies, added that too many modifications in the side just prior to the tournament could hurt its chances of having a prosperous campaign.
"They have maturity, ruthlessness, they have talent and ability," he said of the team, but added, "too many injuries are taking place. Their key focus should be on improving fielding and running between wickets", he said in an interview with ESPN Cricinfo.
Kapil felt that the primary cause why the bowlers are often hit with injuries was that the kind of training meted out to the them was not in consonance with their skill. Kapil pointed out that he kept himself fit through his decade-and-a-half career by constantly developing his legs. "The gym is good enough for batsmen and other kinds of bowlers. But for the fast bowler, someone who has to bowl day in and day out , around 10 to 20 overs, you need strong legs.
"These boys should spend a lot of time on running, like a marathon. Your body should be tuned to that." Injuries to fast bowlers, Kapil said, happen "when you have more muscle on top and your legs cannot support them."
Kapil, who has been India's most successful and effective bowler with 434 Test wickets to his credit, says that he concentrated on his running during cricket's off-season. Then he added that these days, there is no concept of an off-season because so much cricket is being played through the year. He also pointed out that it should be the BCCI's responsibility to help decrease the rate of burn-out among the players as cricketers themselves were less inclined to take a break due to the financial benefits at stake. "They don't want to miss a penny wherever they get a chance, so they don't want to miss matches. If you tell a fast bowler 'you take rest and don't make money', I think mentally no sportsman will be ready for that. So it's up to the administration to see how much cricket our boys play."
The surge in the present Indian cricketers itinerary has been brought on mainly by the IPL. Kapil, who was involved with the IPL's unauthorised rival league - the Indian Cricket League - said that cricketers need to be wary of too much IPL. But as counterpoint, Kapil said he was glad of the financial benefits teh league is bringing to a wider cross-section of players. "Earlier there were only 10-12 cricketers in India who used to make money; today 300-500 cricketers can make a living out of cricket. I am happy something new began and those types of leagues are going to come up in the country."
In the wake of the spot-fixing scandal, Kapil said one way of preventing players from falling under corrupt influences was that younger players should be mentored and guided by their older counterparts. "You need good people to handle them and keep talking to them. They need more advice about becoming true cricketers, basically from senior cricketers who take pride to play for the country."