Celebrating genius of Kapil Dev on his 60th birthday
One of the youngest ever captain to lift the cricket World Cup for India, Kapil Dev Nikhanj reaches another major milestone as he turns 60 today.
Kapil is a true legend and one of the most inspiring and towering cricketing personalities of all time. The revered cricketer from Haryana chose a completely different path when rest of the country was producing champion spinners. It was only the Haryana Hurricane’s exceptional guts and talent which paved the way for youngsters opting for fast bowling in India.
Kapil was in the hot seat as a skipper for the 1983 Cricket World Cup at a tender age of 24 years when the ODI minnows India created history to overpower the might of West Indies at Lord's in an epic final almost 36 years ago.
The World Cup journey had started with a shocking defeat of West Indies by Indians which was treated as a fluke and then Zimbabwe almost ruled India out of the World Cup, having them at 5/17, but thanks to Kapil's heroic 175 not out, India managed to stay in the tournament and then there was no looking back till ruling at Lord’s in the finals.
An inspiring captain always brings out the best from his team and that’s what happened in the World Cup and it was the turn of Roger Binny, Madanlal, Krishnamachari Srikkanth, Balwinder Sandhu, Yashpal Sharma and the superhero Mohinder Amarnath who propelled India to one of the most improbable victories in World Cup,
The way the cricket fraternity looked at Indian Cricket changed and a resurgent cricketing nation was born. Kapil, as a true contributor produced one of the most superlative catches in the World Cup finals to get rid of ever dangerous Sir Vivian Richards.
Kapil was in an era when the world could not decide who was a better all-rounder in Ian Botham, Richard Hadlee, Imran Khan, and Kapil. However what made him stand apart from them were the playing conditions offered to Kapil.
Bowling his heart out on spin friendly but dead fast bowling pitches and then come out to bat to take the game away from opponents with aggressive batting needs a true genius and that was Kapil.
Kapil in his heydays was a fearsome all-rounder. Who can forget few of his memorable performances like 9/83 against West Indies at Ahmadabad, 5/43 against Australia in 1983 World Cup, hitting 4 consecutive sixes to Eddie Hemmings against England at Lords in 1990 and finally overtaking Sir Richard Hadlee as the world’s leading wicket-taker in the year 1994 before calling quits to a glorious career.
The man with a golden heart was Indian coach for a short tenure from September 1999 to September 2000 during which period one of the biggest controversies in match-fixing erupted when a fellow cricketer named Kapil in the scandal. The episode made Kapil break down on a national news channel and the scar probably took him away from the game for a considerable period of time.
Indian cricket has come a long way since Kapil retired, but the contribution he made to the Indian dressing room, gave belief and confidence to team India to take head-on against any team and be fearless in any adverse situation will have imprints on the way cricket is played in India for a long time to come.
Let us celebrate the genius of Kapil on this important day and may God bless him for years to come.