Kapil Dev is a name synonymous with Indian cricket. It was under Kapil that India took that huge step towards becoming a cricketing powerhouse by winning the 1983 World Cup, beating the odds against the mighty West Indies in the final.
Kapil’s contribution to Indian cricket is immense. He was the first fast bowler from India who got genuine respect from batsmen the world over. Before him, India had produced a battery of military medium pacers but with his arrival the fast bowling scene in India changed for good. Here was a fast bowler who could swing both ways and if needed could also throw down “body-blows”.
If you thought describing Kapil could be stopped just there, you are wrong because he was equally devastating with the bat and matched Imran Khan, Richard Hadlee, Ian Botham – his contemporaries – shot for shot. His eight Test centuries attest to his batting credentials. His 175 not out against Zimbabwe in a Group B match in the 1983 World Cup is considered by many the best ODI innings of all-time.
In 1994 during a home Test against Sri Lanka, he became the highest wicket-taker in the world then, going past Hadlee’s tally of 431 wickets. His Test figures of 9/83 in an innings was best for an Indian bowler before Anil Kumble improved it.
He won the Indian cricketer of the century award in 2002, and went on to coach the Indian team post retirement. His regime at the top ended in tears, when he was one of the cricketers named by Manoj Prabhakar in the match fixing scandal. In 2007, he joined the Indian Cricket League as the executive member, a parallel body, unrecognized by the BCCI. That however, led to his removal from the NCA.