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In the pantheon of the greatest players ever to play for India, Kapil Dev would be among the greatest. He is remembered as one of the greatest fast bowling all rounders of all time and certainly one of the most successful captains to have led India. He is perhaps best known for leading India to victory 1983 World Cup. It turned out to be a watershed moment for Indian cricket. Kapil and his men had entered the tournament as rank underdogs and they went on to beat the mighty West Indies to lift the trophy.
Kapil Dev made his Test debut in the 1978-79 series against Pakistan. Interestingly his first ever ball was a no ball.
As a batsman, Kapil Dev was known for his aggression. An example of that would be did in 1990 at Lord’s against England. India were nine down and needed 24 runs to avoid the follow on. Kapil Dev decided to overturn that equation in his own style.
That was the most consecutive sixes a batsman has hit in the history of Test cricket. The record holds to this day with only Shahid Afridi later matching it.
Kapil Dev played in the same era as that of Imran Khan and Ian Botham, widely recognised as two of the greatest fast bowling all rounders of all time. Debates have raged over wether it was Imran or Kapil who was the better of the two but this is one time when the latter got the better of the former.
This next one was when Kapil Dev raged through the Australian lower order. India won the match by 59 runs and Kapil Dev ended with figures of 5/28. He took six wickets in that match.
In 1990, Kapil Dev scored 110 as he India scored their highest Test total at England. India had made 606 runs and that was largely powered by Kapil Dev’s innings and Ravi Shastri’s 187.
Kapil Dev was outstanding in his accuracy and ability to swing the ball, usually away from right-handers.
His 89 off 55 balls against England in 1981 shows that Kapil Dev would have been a shoo-in for any modern day T20 squad. Please do keep in mind that this was a Test match.
The massive six that he hit against Australia at the SCG only emphasises that point even more.
Kapil Dev played his last Test match in 1994. There is little doubt that he changed the way Indian cricket was looked at, both outside and within country.