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23 Nov 2017, 19:47 HRS IST
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  • Much like Dalmiya, Kohli is also our hero: Kapil Dev

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20:22 HRS IST

Kolkata, Nov 14 (PTI) India's first World Cup winning skipper Kapil Dev today compared current captain Virat Kohli with the late Jagmohan Dalmiya, terming them heroes on and off the field.

"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.

"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.

Dev delivered lecture in the inaugural Jagmohan Dalmiya Annual Conclave along with Sri Lanka Cricket president Thilanga Sumathipala, and 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.

That has changed because of him."

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.

Since joining the BCCI in 1979, Dalmiya played a major role in helping it to emerge as the wealthiest cricket board in the world, and Dev said the former president was quick to understand that a cricketer has a short career span of eight to 10 years.

"It's important to have money on your side and Dalmiya understood that. Not everyone is Sachin Tendulkar, you only get to play 15-20 years at max and you are at your prime for eight-10 years. He ensured that you make your life in that career, that credit goes to my hero.

"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," he concluded.

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.

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