Kapildev Ramlal Nikhanj

Kapil Dev named Indian player of century
24 July 2002

London Wisden's decision to name all-rounder Kapil Dev as India's player of the century has been welcomed by the country's former Test players.

Kapil, the ex-captain who led India to their lone World Cup triumph in 1983, was picked ahead of former batsman Sunil Gavaskar and modern-day icon Sachin Tendulkar by a 35-member panel comprising international commentators and former players.

His peers said Kapil was the right choice because he could alter the result of a match single-handedly.

"I don't think anyone has won more matches for India individually," said former Test spinner Maninder Singh on Wednesday.

"He could change the nature of his game with his bowling, batting, fielding and captaincy. That puts him ahead of everyone else."

Kapil took 434 wickets at 29.64 apiece and scored 5,248 runs at an average of 31.05 in Tests.

He made his debut for India as a 19-year-old in the 1978-79 season against Pakistan. He played 131 Tests and 225 one-dayers in a career spanning over 16 years.

"I am very happy for Kapil, he richly deserved the award," said Madan Lal, a member of Kapil's World Cup-winning team and now a national selector.


"It's a good decision by the jury, there was never any doubt in my mind that Kapil is the greatest."

Kapil is the only cricketer in history to score more than 5,000 and take more than 400 wickets in Tests. His mark of 434 wickets stood as a record until West Indian Courtney Walsh surpassed it just two years ago.

"It's a very intelligent decision by the panel to name Kapil," said former Test opener Chetan Chauhan.

"Gavaskar, Kapil and Sachin were the frontrunners but because of his ability to contribute with both the bat and ball they have gone with Kapil."

Kapil's most memorable knock was an unbeaten 175 in the 1983 World Cup against Zimbabwe at Tunbridge Wells in England, where he rescued India from 17 for five to 266 in 60 overs.

Tendulkar won the people's choice award at a ceremony in London on Tuesday, while Gavaskar's team of 1985 - winners of the World Series Cup in Australia - was picked as the best Indian team of the century.

Tendulkar has scored 29 Test centuries and a world-record 33 one-day hundreds. Gavaskar, the first man to score 10,000 Test runs, has a world record 34 Test centuries. He played his last Test in 1987.

When Kapil Devís first coach Desh Prem Azad recommended that he should drink a lot of milk, Kapilís father bought a buffalo to solve the problem. The incident had a deep impact on the young lad. And the determination to succeed gave India her best pace bowler ever. 

With 684 wickets and almost 9,000 runs in both versions of the game, Kapil stamped himself as the best all-rounder in world cricket. His exploits also include leading India to the 1983 World Cup triumph at Lordís. 
Best Batting performance in ODI: 175* vs Zimbabwe at Tunbridge Wells (18-6-1983). 

It was, probably, the best innings ever to be played in a one-day match. India won the toss and elected to bat in the World Cup match. Kapil Dev came into bat with his side reeling at 17-5. The top five batsmen, which included Sunil Gavaskar, Krishnamachari Srikkanth, Mohinder Amarnath and Sandeep Patil, all fell for scores less than 10. Kapil went on to make 175 not out off 138 balls and turn around the match. At that point of time, it was the highest individual score made in a one-day match. 

The second highest scorer of the Indian innings was Syed Kirmani, who made 24 not out. Sadly, there is not a single clipping or television footage available of this amazing innings, as the BBC were apparently on a strike that day and did not cover the match. The innings changed Indiaís fortunes in the 1983 World Cup. And, ironically, it is the only hundred that Kapil scored in one-dayers. 
Best Bowling performance in Tests: 9 for 83 vs West Indies at Ahmedabad (1983-84) 

Nine scalps of the West Indian batting line-up that read Gordon Greednidge, Vivian Richards, Larry Gomes, Clive Llyod, Gus Logie, and Geoffry Dujon, apart from the bowlers. 

Balwinder Singh Sandhu, Kapil Devís opening bowling partner, claimed the first wicket to fall in that particular innings -- that of Desmond Haynes. Kapil just kept working away at the rest. This was the only nine-wicket haul of his career although he took eight wickets in an innings on two occasions. 
''Indian teams had seen the ups and downs in almost everyone's captaincy. I thought I had enough when I saw the captaincy being moved back and forth between Sunil [Gavaskar] and I. The one thing I learnt as captain is that one must be prepared to take the slamming. I don't know why, but in cricket, everything, absolutely everything, is blamed on the captain. That is if things go wrong. If things go right, it is 'team work that did it'." 
In his moment of glory, after being named 'Wisden Indian Cricketer of the Century' Kapil was a picture of humility, attributing his success to guidance from senior players. 

"I have no words to describe how I feel. Besides happiness and pride, I feel a sense of humility to have received this award. The other nominees for this award are my heroes, and being chosen from among my heroes is a great honour," he said. 

Kapildev Ramlal Nikhanj

Born: 6 January 1959, Chandigarh
Major Teams: Haryana, Northamptonshire, Worcestershire, India.
Known As: Kapil Dev
Batting Style: Right Hand Bat
Bowling Style: Right Arm Fast Medium



One of the greatest all rounders in the history of the game, Kapil Dev was a truly dynamic cricketer who shaped many Indian triumphs during his long career which stretched from 1978 to 1994. The jewel in the crown would automatically be the World Cup triumph in 1983 but close behind would be the series triumph in England three years later when he was again the captain. A skilful medium pace bowler, a hard hitting middle order batsman, a brilliant versatile fielder and an intuitive captain who led by personal example, Kapil Dev was as close to the complete cricketer as one can get. 

Kapil burst upon the scene even as the famed spin quartet was breaking up and was the country's premier strike bowler for well over a decade. As a batsman, he was capable of touching the heights as he showed during his unforgettable 175 not out against Zimbabwe at Tunbridge Wells or while hitting four consecutive sixes off Eddie Hemmings to stave off the follow on in the Test against England in 1990. Besides his record Test tally of 434 wickets, Kapil Dev is also the only cricketer to have scored 5000 runs and taken 400 wickets in Tests. He holds the record of most number of Tests played by an Indian and his recent appointment as coach of the Indian side was largely welcomed, even though the initial results were far from encouraging

Test Debut: India v Pakistan at Faisalabad, 1st Test, 1978/79
Last Test: India v New Zealand at Hamilton, Only Test, 1993/94

ODI Debut: India v Pakistan at Quetta, 1st ODI, 1978/79
Last ODI: India v West Indies at Faridabad, 1st ODI, 1994/95

Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1983

Career Statistics:

                      M    I  NO  Runs   HS     Ave 100  50   Ct  St
Batting & Fielding  131  184  15  5248  163   31.05   8  27   64   0

                       O      M     R    W    Ave   BBI   5 10    SR  Econ
Bowling             4623.2 1060 12867  434  29.64  9-83  23  2  63.9  2.78

                      M    I  NO  Runs   HS     Ave 100  50   Ct  St
Batting & Fielding  225  198  39  3783  175*  23.79   1  14   71   0

                       O      M     R    W    Ave   BBI  4w 5w    SR  Econ
Bowling             1867    235  6945  253  27.45  5-43   3  1  44.2  3.71

 (career: 1975/76 - 1993/94)
                      M    I  NO  Runs   HS     Ave 100  50   Ct  St
Batting & Fielding  275  384  39 11356  193   32.91  18  56  192   0

                    Balls     R    W    Ave   BBI    5  10    SR  Econ
Bowling             48853 22626  835  27.09  9-83   39   3  58.5  2.77

 (career: 1977/78 - 1994/95)
                      M    I  NO  Runs   HS     Ave 100  50   Ct  St
Batting & Fielding  310  270  47  5481  175*  24.57   2  23   99   0

                    Balls     R    W    Ave   BBI   4w  5w    SR  Econ
Bowling             14947  9161  335  27.34  5-43    3   2  44.6  3.67

                                      Kapil Dev Nikhanj emerged on the cricket scene
                                           just when the era of great Indian spinners was in
                                           its twilight. The country needed wicket-taking
                                           pace bowlers more than ever and the sturdy
                                           Haryanvi answered prayers when he landed on
                                           the international cricket scene with a bang in
                                           1978. Kapil never looked back and left an indelible
                                           mark on the cricket world after a 16-year-long

                                           One of the greatest all-rounders of the modern
                                           era, Kapil reached the pinnacle when he led his
                          underdog team to an improbable World Cup victory in 1983, surely
                          India's greatest sporting achievement till date. Among his many feats
                          is the record of 434 Test wickets, more than anyone in history.

                          Kapil lent a refreshing air to everything he did on the cricket field.
                          With an instinctive talent, he had the knack of changing the course
                         of matches in a jiffy. Whether bowling, batting or fielding, Kapil had a
                          mercurial presence and was one of the biggest international stars of
                          the game in his playing days.

                          His influence on the game was immense as can be gauged by the
                          emergence of several quality pacemen who have followed in his

                          Today, Kapil has not turned his back on the game and has been
                          associated with it in more ways than one.


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