The anchor of India’s first ever Cricket World Cup triumph in the 1983 tournament, Kapil Dev is the cricketing legend who has been instrumental in India’s glorious scripting of history. The greatest all rounder the country has ever produced, Kapil Dev is more tan just a name. A volley of records, a cap adorned with achievements, the legacy of Kapil Dev the cricketer continues more than two decades after his retirement from the game that defined him and his aura.
Kapil Dev is the only cricketer to hold the record for achieving the double feat of 4000 runs and 400 wickets as an all rounder.
With his efficient running between the wickets, Kapil Dev is also the only player to hold the rare record of never being run out in his entire Test career. A staggering 184 innings played without being run out even once is no mean feat and given that his nearest competitor has achieved it to 116 matches is an apparent assertion of Dev’s authority.
Kapil Dev is also the youngest all rounder in the history of competitive cricket to have achieved the double of 1000 runs & 100 wickets at a mere 21 years of age.
Kapil Dev also had an exceptional ability to rotate the strike and with an impressive strike rate of 61.2 has easily been one of the most efficient batsmen in the world in his prime.
Kapil Dev is married to Romi Bhatia since 1980 and the couple has a daughter named Amiya. However, even an otherwise outspoken Kapil Dev could not muster the courage to open up about his feelings for his now wife.
The ultimate proposal happened finally on one train journey when Dev asked Romi: “Do you want to take a picture of this place so that we can show our children?”. Obviously for a man as extraordinary as Kapil Dev, the marriage proposal needed to be extraordinary too!
Interestingly, Kapil Dev had been dating then Bollywood actress Sarika before marrying Romi. So not unlike the cricketers of the present times!
Sarika is now the wife of actor Kamal Haasan.
Kapil Dev had been very instrumental in leading India to the 1983 triumph. Not only as the captain, even as a player himself, Dev was phenomenal in the tournament. The veteran’s knock of 175 not out vs Zimbabwe in was the first ever ODI century by an Indian, and how!
The Haryana Hurricane has also been one of the fittest players around. With a towering height of 6 feet and an immensely fit body, Dev had never missed a Test because of injury or fitness reasons.
Kapil Dev also has been a man of steadfast resilience throughout. During the 1983- 84 series against West Indies where India was bowled out for a measly 90, infuriated fans hurled stones at the team bus. Even when other team members ducked or tried resisting the attack, Dev wasn’t bothered enough and continued to sit upright.
Kapil Dev is also the first and only cricketer to have completed his first century in Test cricket by hitting a six in 1979 against West Indies.
Kapil Dev’s legendary cricketing exploits however does not subdue his achievements off field as well. The veteran Dev has also starred in more than a couple of Bollywood movies like Stumped, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, Dillagi… Yeh Dillagi, Aryan: Unbreakable, Chain Kulli Ki Main Kulli and Iqbal. Even in his short appearances, Dev did exhibit semblances of cinematic brilliance.
The record of most wickets by an Indian in a calendar year also is held by Kapil Dev. With 75 wickets in 18 Tests, the 1983 feat achieved by Dev still remains the benchmark for present day Indian bowlers.
The legend Kapil Dev’s life story has also been recounted by him in his three autobiographies- By God’s Decree (1985), Cricket My Style (1987) and Straight from the Heart (2004).
An inductee into the International Cricket Council’s Hall of Fame in 2010, Kapil Dev also holds the ICC record for the highest ever cricketer’s rating. Dev achieved the peak rating of 631 on 22 March 1985 after a World Series final against Pakistan in Australia.
The son of Ram Lal Nikhanj and Raj Kumari Ram Lal Nikhanj, Kapil Dev was born on 6 January 1959 as Kapil Dev Ram Lal Nikhanj and had the full support of his family when he embarked on the path of becoming a cricketer.
In fact, Dev’s father went to great lengths to help his son pursue his dreams. The family bought 2 buffalos after he had been asked to drink more milk to get stronger.
Kapil’s dedication and the unwavering support of his family led him to make record after record. One among them has been the world record for the most number of wickets (434) in Test cricket, surpassing Sir Richard Hadlee. The record stood ground for almost eight years when it was broken by West Indies fast bowler, Courtney Walsh.
With a staggering net worth of $30 million, Kapil Dev is one of the richest Indian cricketers of all times. Dev draws a lot upon the tremendous brand value that his name commands. Additionally, Dev’s association with cricket as a commentator also contributes to his overall income as does his multiple brand endorsements.
Kapil Dev had been one of the most prominent fast bowlers at the time he burst into the cricketing scene. However it was a taunt of sorts that propelled him to become a fast bowler.
In a training camp in Mumbai when Dev had asked for more food because he needed more energy as a fast bowler, the young lad was taunted. His coach Keki Tarapore asked him not to give the ridiculous excuse of being a fast bowler to ask for more food since India never had have a proper fast bowler for international cricket. This comment spurred a young Kapil who avowed to emerge as one of India’s genuine fast bowlers.
Consequently, Kapil Dev began throwing the ball with a bowling speed of 140 kilometers per hour as a pacer for the Indian team which earned him the nickname of being the Haryana Hurricane.
Though Kapil Dev’s many records indeed wax eloquent about his greatness as a prolific cricketer, his other staggering stats are no less consequential even when they aren’t exclusive record breakers.
Whether it be claiming 5 wickets while conceding a mere 28 runs against Australia in 1981 or slamming four consecutive sixes against England in 1990 or even saving India from a Test defeat against Australia with a knock of 119 off just 138 balls, Kapil Dev has been phenomenal throughout his remarkable career.
Kapil Dev was commissioned as a honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the Indian Territorial Army on September 24, 2008.
Dev’s patriotism for his country manifestly not only in his association with the Indian army. He also expressed his dedication of doing anything for India by declaring that he would run shirtless like captain Virat Kohli if the Men In Blue lifts the 2019 World Cup trophy.
Named the Indian Cricketer of the Century in 2002 by Wisden, Kapil Dev beat off competition from sixteen other finalists, notably longtime teammate Sunil Gavaskar and crowd favourite Sachin Tendulkar claiming the moment as his finest hour.
A biopic on the life of this exemplary cricketer is also being made into a Bollywood movie. Titled ’83, the film stars one of Bollywood’s essentially dynamic actors- Ranveer Singh. Singh will be portraying the ’83 World Cup winning Indian captain on screen in the film which also has a huge supporting cast.
The Kabir Khan directorial will also witness another incredible performer Pankaj Tripathi playing the role of Man Singh, Team India’s manager in the 1983 tournament. The movie will also witness Saquib Saleem as Mohinder Amarnath, Ammy Virk as Balwinder Singh Sandhu. Tamil actor Jiiva as Krishnamachari Srikkanth, Tahir Raj Bhasin as Sunil Gavaskar, Dhairya Karwa as Ravi Shastri, Marathi actor Chirag Patil as Sandeep Patil, Harrdy Sandhu as Madan Lal, Adinath Kothare as Dilip Vensarkar, Sahil Khattar as Syed Kirmani and Satish Alekar as Sheshrao Wankhede.
The film chronicling the life and achievements of the legend is slated for release on April, 2020.
Even at the ripe old age of 60, Kapil Dev is very a force to reckon with. Revered and respected by the entire cricketing world this iconic Indian cricketer might have retired from the game as long back as in 1994, but the spirit of the gentleman’s game still manifests its every essence in this man who largely redefined India’s stature on the global cricketing stage.