Kolkata: Former World Cup winning Captain Kapil Dev on Tuesday heaped loads of praises on Virat Kohli’s fitness. The Haryana Hurricane, speaking on the occasion of the inaugural Jagmohan Dalmiya Annual Conclave held here said, “We look up to you (Kohli), you are our hero, much like Dalmiya (was off the field). You can change things and you have done this in terms of fitness which we all are proud of today.
Kapil, who led India to its first ever World Cup triumph in 1983 even compared Kohli with the late administrator, terming them heroes on and off the field.
“Every captain comes out with something new and you have taken the fitness level to a new level. We, as cricketers, can say ‘keep up the good work’. You have the ability to believe in yourself, you can achieve the ultimate,” the legendary all-rounder said.
Kapil was the main speaker at the Conclave along with Sri Lanka Cricket president Thilanga Sumathipala. The programme was also attended by both India and Sri Lanka team members and former captain Mohammed Azharuddin.
“We have two type of heroes — one is off the field and another on the field. If cricketers are enjoying today it’s possible because of Dalmiya, without him we would have struggled.”
Terming Dalmiya the best cricket administrator in all sports in the last 50 years, Dev said: “Earlier we would ask ‘can we get wages like Australia, England. Now all this has changed and they are now saying can we get wages like India.
He also added, “He wasn’t the best of speakers but he was instrumental in bringing everybody together, a true leader who got things done. He was the hero of every cricketer in our country. What we are today is because of this man,”
A businessman known for his marketing acumen, Dalmiya was a key figure in bringing the 1987 and 1996 cricket World Cups to the sub-continent and took over as BCCI president for a second time after a gap of nearly a decade.
He passed away on September 20, 2015.
Sri Lanka Cricket Board President Sumathipala remembered Dalmiya’s support during the hard times when their ace spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was accused of chucking in 1995.
“He was born with leadership qualities and negotiation skills by understanding and hearing all parties and settle the dispute at the best interest of everyone.
“After we won the World Cup I was representing Sri Lanka at the ICC annual meeting in London where we had another issue to settle — the suspect action of Muralitharan. He helped us in addressing umpires and referees.