The Hurricane of Haryana, widely regarded as one of the best players in cricket history, was also one of the most effective captains in Indian cricket history, leading India to its maiden World Cup victory in 1983. This is a tribute from a lifelong admirer, a collection of his incredible moments on the field. It was once thought that India would never be able to produce fast bowlers in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Not to mention the fact that our cricket squad was made up of wealthy vegetarians who couldn’t run as fast as the rest of us, but that’s a divisive topic I’ll leave to political blogs.
Anyway, along came a scrawny young Haryana kid who claimed to be able to fast bowl. The squad burst out laughing. With his tremendous prowess, he bowled them all out. Cricket, particularly test cricket, is seldom given the credit it deserves as a tactical, mental game by the casual observer. T20 is a terrific format for a quick and short encounter, but it’s the test match when well-executed strategy and mind games can completely devastate the opposition. And who better to be a master manipulator and a thorn in England’s side than Kapil Dev, who hit four sixes in a row at Lords in 1990? Not only was Kapil Dev a destructive fast bowler, but he had also earned a reputation as a fearsome batter; at the time, no one could match him.
It’s hard to be impressed by a 175-run knock in the age of Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, but back in 1983, this was a big performance, especially in a World Cup contest. This outstanding performance against Zimbabwe during the World Cup provided the impetus for Team India to push further and win the tournament. The Captain’s never-say-die attitude had enthralled the entire crew. The issue is that this match was never broadcast on television. The BBC was on strike on the same day as the match for whatever reason, so we’ll never see what is known as Kapil Dev’s most inspiring knock, one that would go on to inspire Sachin Tendulkar, who would go on to inspire Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni.
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