Who is Kapil Dev?
Considered to be one of the greatest cricketing all-rounders of all time, Kapil Dev is a former Indian cricketer best known for leading his team to a World Cup victory in 1983. Confident, charismatic and highly skilled, he was the Indian team’s main strike bowler for the major part of his career. During his heydays he used to bamboozle batsmen with his prodigious swing. Dev was great not just with the ball; he was equally talented with the bat too. An expert at hooking and driving, he often provided India with the crucial runs needed to win a match even if the top-order failed to score. Born into a middle-class family in Haryana he became interested in cricket at a young age. He played for the Haryana cricket team at the beginning of his career eventually making his way into the national team, thanks to his aggressive play and high energy level. He cemented his place in the Indian team with his impressive performances and was soon made the captain. It was under his leadership that India went on to win the 1983 World Cup in spite of being the underdogs.
Childhood & Early Life
He was born to Ram Lal Nikhanj and his wife Raj Kumari. His father was a building and timber contractor. Basically from Rawalpindi, his parents had migrated to India during the partition in 1947.
He went to the DAV School and later attended St. Edward’s School in Shimla.
He started playing cricket as a school boy and was selected to play for Haryana in domestic cricket.
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He debuted for Haryana in November 1975 in a match against Punjab. He scalped six wickets and restricted the opposition to just 63 runs and thus helped Haryana to win.
He played against Jammu & Kashmir in the 1976-77 season and took 8 wickets and made 36 runs in one match. The same year he achieved figures of 7/20 against Bengal.
In 1978-79 season he took his maiden 10-wicket haul in first-class cricket in a match against Services. His outstanding performance ensured that he got selected for the Irani Trophy, Duleep Trophy and Wills Trophy matches.
He proved his all-round ability by showing his mettle not just with the ball but also with the bat. During the 1979-80 season he scored his maiden century, when he scored 193 runs against Delhi.
He made his test debut against Pakistan in October 1978 though it was only after a few more matches that his impact began to be felt.
In 1979, playing against a visiting West Indies team, Dev made his maiden century scoring 126 runs in just 124 balls. His bowling performance was also consistent as he took 17 wickets in the series.
The cricketer was getting better with every match he played. He picked his first 5-wicket haul against England in Edgbaston in 1979.
During Australian cricket team's tour of India in 1979–80, Kapil Dev established himself as India's premier fast bowler by taking taking two five-wicket hauls and a total of 28 wickets in the whole series.
His popularity soared when he led India to 2 victories in the 6-test home series against Pakistan. Kapil Dev performed spectacularly with both bat and ball. He took a ten wicket haul and scored two half centuries in the series finishing the series with 32 wickets and 278 runs.
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He was made captain during the 1982-83 season and led his team in the 1983 World Cup. India were underdogs in the tournament but under Kapil Dev's charismatic leadership the team punched much above its weight and went to win the world cup by defeating the mighty West Indies in the finals.
After his stellar performance, he was retained as captain for the 1987 World Cup 1987. India played well initially and reached the semi-finals where they lost to England. Kapil Dev left captaincy after this.
He played his last World Cup in 1992 under the captaincy of Mohammad Azharuddin. As a senior bowler he mentored new talents like Javagal Srinath and Manoj Prabhakar.
He retired in 1994 as the highest wicket taker for that time, with a haul of 434 wickets.
He became the coach of the Indian team in 1999 but his stint as a coach was not successful. He resigned in 2000 following some controversy.
Awards & Achievements
Kapil Dev is best known for leading the team India to a World Cup victory in 1983.
At one time he held the world record as the highest wicket taker in the test cricket, with a total haul of 434 wickets.
He was honored with Padma Shri—India’s fourth highest civilian award—in 1982
In 1991, he was honored with the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian award in India.
Kapil Dev is the recipient of several cricketing awards including the Wisden Indian Cricketer of the Century in 2002.
Personal Life & Legacy
He met Romi Bhatia through a common friend in 1979 and fell in love with her. The couple got married in 1980. After several years of marriage they were blessed with a daughter.
He took to golf after retiring from cricket. He pledged his organs during an event organized by Delhi Urological Society.
His former team mate Manoj Prabhakar accused him of being involving in a match fixing scandal. However, the courts dismissed the case for absence of any proof. This incident deeply hurt the cricketer.
This famous Indian cricketer has made cameo appearances in Hindi movies like ‘Iqbal’ and ‘Mujhse Shaadi Karogi’.