Motivation, and not money, drives cricketers to look for glory on the sports field. Kapil Dev, Ajay Jadeja and Suresh Raina shared the stage and also the opinion that nothing was more invigorating than playing for the country.
“When you score runs for the country you get respect. I have learnt it from watching big players like Sachin (Tendulkar), VVS (Laxman), Rahul (Dravid) that I can be known as a good player only when I play for the country, when I play Tests for the country,” said Raina, a key member of the 2011 World Cup-winning team.
Kapil, who led India to its first World Cup triumph in 1983, confessed he would have loved to play in all three formats of the game. “I won’t compare the three formats, but Test cricket is the ultimate. But I want the cricket administrators to protect Test cricket and make it more interesting to attract spectators. You have to keep the game alive,” said Kapil.
In Jadeja’s view, T20 cricket was “rock bottom” and Test cricket the “pinnacle.”
As he pointed out, “it is sad that most people look at cricket in numbers these days. Money is good for everyone but motivation becomes part of your system when you start to play cricket at the age of eight or 10. It is passion for the game that drives you at that formative stage, not money.”
As part of a panel member during a cricket discussion, Kapil also requested the critics to temper their praise and comparisons when someone mentioned Cheteshwar Pujara and Rahul Dravid in the same breath.
“Please don’t compare, please. He (Pujara) has just got a (double hundred) and you start comparing him with Dravid. Tomorrow, you would compare Virat (Kohli) with Sachin (Tendulkar). Let these guys make a name for themselves first. Please don’t put pressure on them with comparisons.”
Jadeja remarked, “It is good to see that Pujara is not content with a century. It is clear that he has worked hard and wants to get better.”
On the successful return to Test cricket by Yuvraj Singh, there was a word of caution from Kapil.
“I am more concerned about his health than performance. He has the charisma to excel but he must look after himself too.”