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What if a young Kapil Dev was a part of the current Indian team?

  • Would Kapil Dev have adapted to the requirements of the modern era?
  • Would he have been the captain of the Indian side?
Smit N. Shah
ANALYST
Feature
Modified 23 Mar 2020, 13:10 IST

Kapil Dev with the 1983 World Cup
Kapil Dev with the 1983 World Cup

Kapil Dev was a legend of the game. The genius all-rounder bowled brilliantly, was an explosive batsman, and was a very agile fielder.

The trailblazer for Indian cricket, Kapil led the Indian cricket team to its most glorious moment - the 1983 World Cup win. Him holding the trophy aloft is a picture that still reverberates in the minds of many.

But what if Kapil was born in the present era and was a part of the current Indian cricket setup? Let's dive deep into the imaginary world and analyze this scenario with some poignant questions.

#1 Would he have played the T20 format and the IPL?

T20 is a fast-paced and intense format. The player needs to think on his feet, act fast, field swiftly, bat fearlessly and be shrewd while bowling.

Kapil was a brilliant fielder and took some great catches (remember the catch of Viv Richards in the World Cup final?). As a batsman, he batted in the lower middle order and smashed the bowlers out of the park - a trait well-suited for the T20 format. He even scored India's fastest Test fifty (off 33 balls).

Kapil Dev
Kapil Dev

As far as the last discipline is concerned, it is often said that a bowler can be successful in any format if he does the basics right - swings the ball, pitches it in the right areas and uses his brain. Kapil did exactly that. That said, he may have had to develop death bowling skills to be even more effective.

Given his skill-set, Kapil would have surely played in the T20 format and the IPL. He probably would have been one of the most sought-after players in the IPL auctions.

#2 Would he have bowled the slower-ones and other variations?

Modern-day bowling is all about variations. Spinners have the carom ball, mystery balls and quicker-ones. Fast bowlers, on the other hand, have a plethora of slower-ball variations - the off-cutter, leg-cutter, back-of-the-hand, the knuckle-ball, slower yorkers, slower bouncers and many more.

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Kapil Dev
Kapil Dev

Kapil was a very classy, old-school fast bowler, so it might have been a bit difficult to convince the 'Haryana Hurricane' to change his ways. But if it was for the team and was necessary, he would have surely come around eventually and learnt the art.

#3 Would he have captained the Indian cricket team?

Kapil's captaincy in the 1980s had a sense of freshness. It was attacking captaincy.

On the field, his field placements were often marked as aggressive and unique, sometimes even futuristic. Off the field too he was aggressive in a sense that his selection criteria were highly performance-oriented.

Kapil Dev was one of the best Indian captains ever
Kapil Dev was one of the best Indian captains ever

Along with these traits required to be a modern-day captain, Kapil led from the front, bailed the team out of tough situations (remember the innings of 175 against Zimbabwe in the 83 WC), was calm under pressure, had great man-management skills and was well-respected by fellow teammates and the board.

Place Kapil in any era, and his leadership skills seem apt for captaining the side.

#4 Would he have cleared the yo-yo test for fitness?

Whether he would have played T20s, bowled slower-ones and captained the side - these are pertinent questions. But they would only apply if Kapil would have cleared the yo-yo test, which is a prerequisite to get into the Indian team.

Very few ex-cricketers, specifically the ones from the pre-yo-yo test era, seem fit enough to clear it. And Kapil is certainly one of them.

In a total of 131 Tests, Kapil Dev never missed a match due to fitness issues
In a total of 131 Tests, Kapil Dev never missed a match due to fitness issues

Kapil was, by any standard, supremely fit. He missed just one Test match during his career, in which he played 131. Kapil appeared in 66 straight Test matches, was left out for one Test and then played 65 consecutive Tests after that.

Kapil was never dropped from the team due to fitness issues. He could bowl all day long and come out the next day and bat for long periods. He has eight Test centuries and 27 half-centuries to his name.

So for Kapil - yo-yo test? Bring it on!

Published 23 Mar 2020, 13:10 IST
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