Kapil Dev, a retired Indian cricketer best known for leading his team to a World Cup win in 1983, is considered as one of the greatest cricketing all-rounders of all time. He was the Indian team’s first strike bowler for the majority of his career, and he was confident, charismatic, and highly qualified. With his prodigious swing, he used to bamboozle batsmen in his prime. Dev was not only good with the ball, but he was also good with the bat. He was a master at hooking and running, and he often provided India with the vital runs they needed to win a match, even though the top-order struggled to score. He was born into a middle-class Haryana family and took up cricket at a young age.He started his cricket career with the Haryana cricket team, gradually finding his way into the national team due to his aggressive play and high energy level. Through his excellent performances, he cemented his place in the Indian team and was easily elevated to captain. Despite being the underdogs, India went on to win the 1983 World Cup under his leadership.
Childhood and Puberty
Ram Lal Nikhanj and his wife Raj Kumari had him. His father worked as a builder and a woodworker. His ancestors, who were originally from Rawalpindi, had migrated to India during the 1947 partition.
He attended the DAV School before going on to St. Edward’s School in Shimla.
He began playing cricket as a schoolboy and was picked to play domestic cricket for Haryana.
In November 1975, he made his Haryana debut against Punjab. He took six wickets and helped Haryana win by limiting the opposition to only 63 runs.
In the 1976-77 season, he took 8 wickets and scored 36 runs in one match against Jammu & Kashmir. In the same year, he had a 7/20 record against Bengal.
In a match against Services during the 1978-79 season, he took his first 10-wicket haul in first-class cricket. He was chosen for the Irani Trophy, Duleep Trophy, and Wills Trophy matches due to his outstanding results.
He showed his all-round skill by showcasing his prowess with both the ball and the bat. Against Delhi in the 1979-80 season, he hit his first century, scoring 193 runs.
In October 1978, he made his test debut against Pakistan, but it took a few more matches for his influence to be felt.
Dev played his first century against a visiting West Indies team in 1979, hitting 126 runs in just 124 balls. He was also strong with his bowling, taking 17 wickets in the series.
With each match that he played, the cricketer changed. In 1979, he took his first 5-wicket haul against England at Edgbaston.
Kapil Dev established himself as India’s premier fast bowler during the Australian cricket team’s tour of India in 1979–80, taking two five-wicket hauls and a total of 28 wickets in the series.
As he led India to two victories in the six-test series against Pakistan at home, his reputation skyrocketed. Kapil Dev was excellent with both the bat and the ball. In the series, he took ten wickets and made two half centuries, ending with 32 wickets and 278 runs.
During the 1982-83 season, he was named captain and led his team to the 1983 World Cup. India entered the tournament as underdogs, but under the dynamic leadership of Kapil Dev, the team outperformed hopes and went on to win the World Cup by beating the mighty West Indies in the final.
He was retained as captain for the 1987 World Cup after his excellent results. India started well and progressed to the semi-finals, where they were defeated by England. Following this, Kapil Dev stood down as captain.
His last World Cup was in 1992, when he was captained by Mohammad Azharuddin. He trained young bowlers like Javagal Srinath and Manoj Prabhakar as a senior bowler.
With 434 wickets, he retired in 1994 as the top wicket-taker of his age.
In 1999, he was named coach of the Indian team, but his tenure was short-lived. Following some controversy, he retired in 2000.
Achievements & Awards
Kapil Dev is best known for leading India to victory in the 1983 World Cup.
With a total of 434 wickets, he once held the world record for the most wickets taken in test cricket.
In 1982, he was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian distinction.
In 1991, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honour.
Kapil Dev has received several cricket awards, including the Wisden Indian Cricketer of the Century award in 2002.