Happy 60th Birthday Kapil Dev
By Ritesh Misra
Kapil Dev’s bowling was poetry and his batting was pure talent. His fielding was electric and he probably took the most famous catch in the history of Indian cricket when he caught Viv Richards off Madan Lal’s bowling in the 1983 world cup finals.
Kapil is definitely the best allrounder ever to play for India. In fact, he is one of the best allrounders ever to play cricket and is the only player in the history of the game to have taken more than 400 Test wickets and score more than 5000 Test runs.
Today, 6th January 2019 is the 60th Birthday of this legend. As a birthday tribute let us go on a nostalgic journey and recollect some of the memorable moments of his amazing cricketing career
Kapil’s Devils win 1983 Cricket World Cup
In 1983 the Indian team was a rank outsider and expected to only make up the numbers. against all odds, they not only entered the final but also defeated the mighty West Indian team led by Clive Lloyd. Kapil’s individual stamp of brilliance apart from his captaincy was seen throughout the tournament. His 175 vs Zimbabwe when India were 17-5 is one of the best ODI innings ever. His catch of Viv Richards off Madan Lal’s bowling was the turning point of the final and came at a point when Viv was threatening to run away with the match. Kapil had 303 runs in the tournament @ 60.6, 12 wickets @ 20.41 and 7 catches for an overall successful tournament personally. The world cup win is for millions of Indians the most exhilarating cricketing moment of their lives and it also ushered in a cricketing revolution in the country.
ICC Cricket Hall of fame member.
He is one of only 5 Indian cricketers to be in the ICC Cricket Hall of fame, the four others being Bishan Singh Bedi, Sunil Gavaskar, Anil Kumble, and Rahul Dravid. Sachin Tendulkar is expected to join this list soon after completing the mandatory 5 year period after retirement.
Wisden Indian cricketer of the century
There were 16 cricketers who were shortlisted and then the shortlist came to six- Tiger Pataudi, CK Nayudu, Vinoo Mankad, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, and Kapil. The final shortlist was Sunny, Sachin and Kapil and in the words of Viv Richards, it was like a 100-metre dash with three champions bunched together. Well, it was Kapil who won the award and he called it his finest hour. He thanked his family and said that he was there because of them, his 1st captain Bishan Singh Bedi and his champion Guru Sunil Gavaskar. Sachin spoke on the occasion and said that he started playing serious cricket around the time Kapil’s team won the 1983 world cup which was a big inspiration for him.
India’s 2 Nil Win versus England in 1986
This was and still is one of India’s best ever performances abroad and it came under Kapil’s captaincy. India won the Test series 2 Nil. Stellar performances for India were by Dilip Vengsarkar who was the man of the series, by Chetan Sharma and by Kapil himself. Colonel and Kapil also were the man of the match as well in one match each in the 2 Indian wins. Kapil rates this series as one of his favorite cricketing moments.
Highest wicket taker
Hashan Tillekaratne, caught Sanjay Manjrekar, bowled Kapil Dev. This was the 432nd test wicket for Kapil on 8th February 1994 which took him beyond Richard Hadlee’s world record of 431 wickets. 432 balloons were released in the air and one minute’s standing ovation was given to celebrate the feat. India won the Test as well, and it was India’s 9th win in a row. Hadlee congratulated Kapil by saying it was a special moment for world cricket. Hadlee predicted that Shane Warne would break the record and be the 1st to reach 500 wickets. Well, Warne did reach that and even greater heights, but it was Courtney Walsh who broke Kapil’s record six years later and also was the 1st to breach the 500 mark. Warne later broke the record of Walsh
4 sixes off Eddie Hemmings
A brilliant 300 by Graham Gooch had taken England to 633 and India had lost 9 wickets with still 24 required to avoid the follow-on. Kapil was batting on 53 and had Hirwani for a company. In an incredible assault, Kapil hit 4 consecutive sixes and India avoided the follow-on. Interestingly Hirwani was out the very next ball. India still lost the match, but for Indian fans, the feat is one to fondly remember.
This was played at Chennai from Sept 18-22, 1986. Australia scored 574 with an epic 210 by Dean Jones and Allan Border contributing 106. In reply, India scored 397 though at one point they were 220/6. This was primarily due to Kapil’s blistering 100. His 119 in 138 balls is considered one the best tons of his career. Australia set India 348 to win and in a thrilling finish, India were 347 all out which was only the second tied test in history. Greg Matthews took 10 wickets in the match. Dean Jones and Kapil were joint men of the match.
Ranji Championship of 1990-91
The final between Bombay and Haryana is universally acknowledged as the greatest Ranji final in the history of the championships. Bombay had as many as 8 India players including Dilip Vengsarkar, Sanjay Manjrekar, Chandrakant Pandit, Sachin Tendulkar, Lalchand Rajput, Salil Ankola, Abay Kuruvilla and Raju Kulkarni. Haryana, led by Kapil had Chetan Sharma, Ajay Jadeja, and Vijay Yadav. In a thrilling last day’s play, Haryana won by just 2 runs and Vengsarkar was stranded at 139 and was seen in tears after playing one of the best 1st class innings ever seen on Indian soil. For Kapil, it was his only Ranji triumph and it came against an amazingly formidable Bombay team.
Kapil has given us many memorable cricketing moments and it is with difficulty that I could shortlist these 8. They are just illustrative and not exhaustive. In any case, statistics cannot do justice to the sheer joy he imparted and the exuberance he got and he inspired. Will there be another Kapil Dev? For me, the answer is NO.
Happy birthday Sir.
The blogger, Ritesh Misra, is an IRS Officer currently based in Mumbai. He tweets @riteshmisra. His hobbies are sports, films, and music.
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