Kapil Dev says India should develop more all-rounders; feels Virat and Rohit should try to bowl more

There are very limited all-rounders that come to mind when one thinks of the category of players in Indian cricket. Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, and Krunal Pandya possess the rare skillset with both bat and ball that has become essential in the modern game, especially in the T20s.

Former Indian captain and legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev believes that even though the talent pool in Indian cricket is promising, Team India lacks all-rounders. He said that it would not be bad if batsmen like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma bowled a few overs when necessary.

“For a captain, two all-rounders are very important – batting all-rounder and bowling all-rounder. Hardik is a batting all-rounder, while I was a bowling all-rounder. So, if a captain can have two such all-rounders in T20, it really helps them.

The team becomes solid. You can go with two extra players who can take responsibility of the team. But if you have one all-rounder, the captain struggles,” Kapil Dev said during Day 1 of Hindustan Times’ virtual HT NxT.

Kapil, who is arguably the best all-rounder India has ever produced, gave examples of Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly who chipped in with a few overs and said that everyone in the team has to bowl a few overs every day to keep the rhythm.

“If one gets injured, you can still adjust. But if both all-rounders get injured then it can be very tough to adjust. So I would say… I look forward to two all-rounders: a batting all-rounder and a bowling all-rounder.

Sachin Tendulkar or Sourav Ganguly were all-rounders who could bowl a few overs but were mainly batsmen. Players like Virat, Rohit don’t bowl at all, so it’s difficult in T20. Everybody should try to bowl a few overs every day to keep the rhythm going,” Kapil said.

Interestingly, Rohit Sharma has an IPL hattrick to his name while Virat Kohli holds a unique record of taking a wicket off his 0th ball when MS Dhoni stumped Kevin Pietersen of a wide ball in a T20I match.

Kapil Dev added that competition is good in the Indian team, especially for the all-rounder’s spot. He cited a recent example where Ravindra Jadeja was chosen over R Ashwin in the four-Test matches against England purely on the basis of his better batting skills.

“I think when you have competition, it’s always good. Like you have 2-3 batsmen like Virat and Rohit, you always want to be one step ahead of the other. So, it really helps if you have a competition of that level. If you have 4-5 allrounders – Jadeja one of the finest allrounders and same with Ashwin.

But he has to get more runs to be considered a better all-rounder. You have those types of allrounders in the team, it’s always good for the team because it gives the captain the option of picking a better team. Competition brings the best out everyone,” Kapil added.