As a young and relatively inexperienced Indian team prepares for life without Sachin Tendulkar on the pitch ahead of their first Test against South Africa at Johannesburg, former Indian captain Kapil Dev said that the new players need to learn from Tendulkar and perform well against the No. 1 Test side. (South Africa vs India, 1st Test Preview)
"The new players must take a leaf out of Sachin's book," Kapil Dev told NDTV during their 25th anniversary celebration where he was honoured as one of the Greatest Indian Living Legends. (India should pick an extra batsman, says Sunil Gavaskar)
Tendulkar, who recently retired after playing his 200th Test against the West Indies at home, was India's stand out performer on their previous tour to South Africa in 2010-11. (Lessons learnt from ODI losses, need to move on from Sachin era: MS Dhoni)
Riding on two centuries from the batting maestro, India came close to recording their first-ever series win in South Africa.
This will also be the first time since 1996 when India will be without the stalwarts like Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly.
Kapil, however, felt that India will not move forward if they keep thinking about players who have retired. (Indian batsmen will face a tough challenge: Graeme Smith)
"If we think about missing players, then we will never progress. You will always miss players like Sachin, Dravid and Laxman. But we should not think about it now," Kapil Dev said in an exclusive chat.
Talking about how the Indians need to approach the game in conditions that are hostile to them and what they need to do to succeed, Kapil said, "The first three batsmen have to perform. If they don't score, fear will creep in the team."
India suffered from poor form during the three-match ODI series which they lost 0-2. India's top-3 in the ODI team, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli came a cropper against the South African pace battery, aggregating a total of 80 runs in the two outings each. Kapil felt that the series loss could have been avoided and the board should have sent the team a lot earlier to allow them to acclimatize with the conditions.
"BCCI should have sent team early to South Africa. More thinking is needed by the officials," he said.
Kapil, who has 434 Test wickets to his name, said that speed was not the only way of picking up wickets and said that young fast bowlers like Umesh Yadav need to learn a thing or two from someone like Zaheer Khan, who will make a comeback in the two-Test series.
"It's not about speed, you must know the trade secrets to get wickets. Look at Zaheer, how he bowls well even at 130 kmph. Bowlers like Umesh Yadav must learn," Kapil said.
Kapil was also quick to point out that there is hardly any time for youngsters to learn in a packed cricket calendar.
"There is so much cricket around the year, first there are the international matches, then IPL comes, whole Ranji Trophy season is there, there seems to be no time to learn for these youngsters," he said.