Often considered to be one of the greatest Indian players to grace the sport of cricket, Kapil Dev turns 62 today. And we feel that there could be nothing better than to celebrate him by looking over the best moments of the former Indian skipper.
So without further ado, let’s put on our helmets, tighten our batting pads, and get started:
- The Haryana Hurricane:
This is a tale with the magnitude of epic folklore. Back in the late 70s, it was a known fact for the Indian subcontinent to not produce fast pace bowlers. Not to mention, the Indian cricket team consisted of players who were hardcore vegetarians with fitness levels that hampered their running speed.
But that was all about to change with Dev. Along came a tall, scrawny lad from Haryana who surprised everyone with his bowling speed and accuracy.
They say the proof is in the pudding, so here’s a video of Kapil Dev giving Aussies a run for their money at MCG in 1981, just 6 years after his debut with Haryana Cricket Team.
One of the most memorable moments for The Haryana Hurricane came in 1983 when he decimated the West Indian team with his pace and accuracy. During the third test match against West Indies, Kapil Dev finished with astounding figures of 9/83 in the second innings.
- Avoiding Follow On With Style
Not only Kapil Dev a fantastic fast bowler, but he had also made a reputation for himself for being a blistering batsman that would ransack the opposition’s bowling attack without breaking a sweat.
A beautiful testament to the fact was shown in 1990 in Lord’s. India was playing the mighty and indomitable England cricket team. In the first test, India was already down 9 wickets with 430 runs on the board. The visitors needed 24 more runs to avoid follow on with Dev keeping the boat steady and Hirwani giving him company.
Kapil Dev decided to curb the deficit himself and launched a brutal attack on Eddie Hemmings. The former Indian skipper smashed the English bowler for 4 beautiful sixes in a row to avoid follow on.
- Knock of 175 In World Cup:
Cricket today is slowly but surely turning into a batsman’s game. And in an era of Rohit Sharma and Steve Smiths, it can be hard to get impressed by a 175 run inning. But back in 1983, centuries came few and far between many matches and multiple innings, and it was all the more for a century to be hit in a World Cup match.
Kapil Dev’s impressive knock of 175 runs came against Zimbabwe during the 1983 World Cup. Winning the toss first, Dev chose to send the Indian Batsmen in the middle to bat first. But against everyone’s expectations, India were left at a disappointing position at 17/5.
But what was to follow was nothing short of historic. Kapil Dev rooted himself at the pitch and played a much-needed responsible inning scoring 175 runs. He not only proved that he was a reliable batsman, but also a punishing one who punished every bad delivery.
- 1983 World Cup: “The Catch”
Reading the title of this moment itself might have caused a jubilant memory to flash in front of your eyes. The 1983 World Cup victory was a transformative moment where the Indian cricket team proved their prowess by defeating the mighty West Indians.
But let’s rewind for a moment. For a while, it almost felt like India will lose the 1983 World Cup final. For on the crease stood the great Sir Vivian Richards, a man who was the reason for nightmares for a lot of bowlers. A devastating batsman, when he hooked or pulled, the bowl itself used to take responsibility for covering all the areas on the ground.
So when Sir Viv hit the ball into the air with the intent to hit a six, disappointment swept across the nation. But with the agility of a cheetah, Kapil Dev dashed to the boundaries and caught the bowl. It was that moment where the tides changed. After the wicket of Sir Viv, the West Indies batting collapsed like a pack of cards. It was a catch that changed Indian Cricket and Kapil Dev, The Hariyana Hurricane, was right in the centre of it all.