Kapil Dev is a household name in Indian Cricket. This phenomenal player is India’s greatest bowler, and it was under him that India became the cricketing powerhouse it is. Kapil led his team to victory in the 1983 World Cup, beating the then unbeatable West Indies. If it were not for Ian Botham, Imran Khan, and Richard Hadlee, who were cricket sensations at the time, Kapil would have been recognized as the best all-rounder in the world. Even so, he was voted Cricketer of the Century in 2002. Kapil’s ability to swing the ball was outstanding, and he amazed the crowd every time he hit a ball.
So, who is this brilliant player who seems a natural with the bat and ball?
Kapil Dev made his debut in cricket in 1978 at the age of 19 years. He was a natural talent and immediately started causing carnage with the bat. His approach to batting made it seem like he wanted to rip his shoulders off when he hit the ball. However, his energetic batting saw him score the fastest Test half-century for India against Pakistan off only 33 balls.
In 1979, Kapil became the youngest player in Test cricket to reach 100 wickets and 1000 runs when he picked up 32 wickets and scored 278 runs.
Kapil Dev took over the reins from Sunil Gavaskar for the 1983 World Cup. He gave an extraordinary performance in a match against Zimbabwe, hammering 175 off 138 balls. This gave India the momentum they needed to go ahead and win the coveted Cup for the first time. After the World Cup, Kapil lost his captaincy to Gavaskar but only for a while. He regained his role just before the World Cup in 1987 and led India in defending their championship. However, even though India performed well and made it to the semi-finals, they lost to England. This was the first of the disappointments that sank Kapil’s captaincy. One more loss against Australia, and Kapil decided to quit his role. From then onwards, Kapil never captained India again, but he continued to be the number one pacer until his retirement in 1994.
After retirement, Kapil coached the Indian team for a while but quit after a few losses and accusations of match-fixing. He stepped down as coach, hurt and disappointed. He announced that he would not be a part of the game anymore.
Kapil Dev retired from the game in 1994 after playing his last ODI match. Here are his last matches played in different categories.
With such an outstanding profile, it’s easy to see why Kapil Dev is one of the most, if not the most, celebrated Indian cricket players of all time.