Kapil Dev reckons he was a better athlete than Imran Khan, Sir Ian Botham and Sir Richard Hadlee

Kapil Dev and Imran Khan - Gulf News
Kapil Dev and Imran Khan - Gulf News
Momin Mehmood Butt

India's former World Cup-winning captain, Kapil Dev recently stated in a podcast that he was a better athlete than the likes of Imran Khan, Sir Ian Botham and Sir Richard Hadlee.

Kapil Dev was a member of the quartet of legendary all-rounders who dominated cricket during the 1970s and 80s. He also led India to their maiden World Cup crown in the 1983 edition.

Kapil Dev admitted that though he was not the greatest athlete, he was certainly the best among the four. The 61-year old then heaped praise on the exceptional abilities of the other three all-rounders, terming Sir Richard Hadlee as the best bowler and Imran Khan as the most hardworking player among the quartet.

“The best bowling was Richard Hadlee’s – he was like a computer among the four of us. I wouldn’t say Imran Khan was the best athlete or the most natural, but he was the most hardworking player we’ve seen," Kapil Dev said.

Imran Khan looked an ordinary bowler at the start of his career: Kapil Dev

“When he started out, he looked like an ordinary bowler, but then he became a very hardworking fast bowler and he learned by himself. And then he worked on his batting as well. Imran could run through the [opposition] team, but his ability as a leader was far better. To control the Pakistan team he had was a challenge,” Kapil Dev quipped.

Kapil Dev also spoke highly of Sir Ian Botham's all-round prowess, hailing him as a true all-rounder, who could win matches on his own, both with the bat and the ball.

“Ian Botham was a true all-rounder – in given conditions, he could win a match on his own. I wouldn’t say Hadlee was the best batsman. Botham could do damage to the opposition both with bat [and ball]," Kapil Dev elaborated.

Kapil Dev represented India in 356 internationals, scalping 687 preys and amassing 9,031 runs.

Edited by Shashwat Kumar


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