Bangalore, Mar 7 (UNI) Champion all-rounder Kapil Dev was preferred over Anil Kumble, Sunil Gavaskar and Rahul Dravid as the greatest ever match winner of the Indian cricket team in the 'CEAT Big Cricket Debate', part of a series of debates across the country on cricketing issues, which was launched here today.
The unanimous stand taken by a panel of eminent former cricketers said Kapil should be rated as the 'best cricketer ever' for the role he played to bring victories to Indian cricket both within and outside the country.
Legendary spinner Erappalli Prasanna said ''Kapil is the one who performed during the most difficult circumstances. He contributed in all departments of the game - bowling, batting and fielding.'' When put to vote, Kapil emerged the narrow winner with Gavaskar and Dravid getting almost equal support.
The topic for the discussion was, 'Is Kumble India's Greatest Match Winner ever'.
However, it was Kapil who got the overwhelming support.
According to ace stumper Syed Kirmani, Gavaskar was the greatest source of confidence. He played against the best spinners in the domestic matches with aplomb while he faced with grit the then top fast bowlers on the tours, in world cricket.
However, Kapil was better than anybody in taking the home team to victory, he felt.
An interesting aspect that came out in the debate was that Gavaskar was more a 'match saver' than a match winner.
The panel agreed that Kumble was a matchwinner but only during his playing days, and not an 'all-time' best. Better performance at home and not so impressive figures abroad also went against Kumble.
While he was declared man of the match for nine times in India, he could get the award only once abroad. His four 'man of the series' awards came while playing on Indian soil, they pointed out.
Speaking about CEAT's new initiative, Sales and Marketing Vice President, Arnab Banerjee said the 'Big Cricket Debate' envisages to look into various issues in Indian cricket.
Cricketers and cricketing experts from the media would debate on the subject throughout India and also draw public participation, he added.
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