The first bearer of the World Cup glory for India, Kapil Dev turns 60 today. He was born in Chandigarh as Kapil Dev Ram Lal Nikhanj on January 6, 1959.
Still considered as one of the greatest all-rounder’s in the history of cricket, Dev made his India debut on October 16, 1978, at the age of 19. He played his first Test match against arch-nemesis Pakistan, at Faisalabad. Kapil scored just 8 runs and picked up just 1 wicket as India drew the Test match. But he went on to play 131 Test matches for India and even led the ODI side to their first ever World Cup victory in the year 1983.
In a Test career spanning over 16 years, he took a total of 434 wickets at an average of 29.64 that included 23 five-wicket hauls. In 131 Test matches, he scored 5248 runs at 31.05, including 8 tons and 27 half-centuries. In one day internationals, Kapil Dev garnered 3783 runs from 225 matches at an average of 23.79. It included one century and 14 half-centuries. As a bowler, he also took a total of 253 wickets at an average of 27.45 and one five-wicket haul in limited overs.
Kapil Dev made his Test debut at Faisalabad, at the age of 19. He walked out to bat when India’s score was 425 for 6, to join Dilip Vengsarkar. He asked the umpire, as he was used to, “Please, can I have a leg-stump guard?” He was laughed at and sledged at by the Pakistan cricketers, who later advised him not to be too polite during a cricket match. However, with the ball, he astonished the Pakistani batsmen with his pace and bouncers that struck their helmets on more than one occasion. Dev bagged his maiden wicket by dismissing Sadiq Mohammad with his signature outswinger.
A Rare Feat
Dev made his reputation as one of the fastest runners between wickets, as he was never run out in his entire Test career spanning 184 innings. Mudassar Nazar of Pakistan comes next in the list with 116 innings, followed by Paul Collingwood (115) and Graeme Hick (114). Of current players, Marlon Samuels has an unbeaten record of 97 innings.
World Cup Knock
Kapil Dev led India to their first World Cup triumph in England and his 175 against Zimbabwe is regarded as an all-time classic. Former skipper and teammate Sunil Gavaskar recently said it was the greatest knock he had ever seen in one-day internationals.
“That 175 is the greatest knock in ODI history I have seen as a player and as a commentator… I have never seen a better inning. The situation we were in…We were 17 for 5. It was cold and the ball was moving. It looked like we would be bowled out for 70 or 80..,” Sunil Gavaskar said.
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 6, 2019
“I can do anything for my country,” says Kapil Dev
Kapil Dev promised to follow the lead of Team India captain Virat Kohli down Oxford street shirtless if India wins the World Cup in England 2019.
“I will run shirtless if India win the World Cup. Just like Kohli said that he will run shirtless if India win, I will too,” Kapil Dev said at Agenda Aaj Tak 2018. “I can do anything for my country,” he said.