The legendary Kapil Dev celebrates his 63rd birthday today, January 16. Arguably the greatest cricketer in the history of Indian cricket, Kapil became the country’s first World-Cup winning captain when he led India to a World Cup win in 1983. A team which no one backed, Kapil led it from the front to defeat the mighty West Indies and trigger India’s love towards the sport, which today has transformed into a nation-wide passion.
In a 16-year-long career, Kapil scripted many a memorable record, the most prominent being his tally of 434 Test wickets, which stood tall for six years after since his retirement. Even today, Kapil remains in the list of top-10 leading wicket-takers in the world and next only to Anil Kumble as far as Indian bowlers are concerned.
However, it wasn’t only the ball with which Kapil made an impact. Besides grabbing 687 wickets, the former India captain holds an impressive batting record of over 9000 international runs with nine centuries and 41 fifties. Easily the greatest all-rounder produced by India, Kapil was the original ‘hitter’, his lusty blows with the bat was the type that was never seen by anyone in the country.
The likes of Sunil Gavaskar and Gundappa Vishwanath were all panache, but Kapil took on the opposition by the scruff of the neck when it came to batting. Look no further than his iconic knock of 175 against Zimbabwe, which is still regarded as one of the top ODI knocks of all time. Having said that, while Kapil played some sensational innings for India, including a magnificent 129 against South Africa, his unbeaten 77 against England at the home of cricket, stands tall in the pantheon of Indian cricket.
Long before Yuvraj Singh hit six sixes in an over, it was Kapil who made people believe that multiple sixes in an over of Test cricket is a possibility. At Lord’s, with India staring at the possibility of following-on, Kapil helped India avoid it and did it in quite some style. Needing 24 to avoid the follow-on, facing off-spinner Eddie Hemmings, Kapil smacked four sixes in a row to ensure India did not bat back-to-back. Gavaskar famously said on air: “Only Kapil Dev could have done it, only Kapil Dev.
Watch the video below.
In another staggering trivia, Kapil never bowled a no-ball in his entire career, a true testament to his genius.