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India@75 Sports Legends: Kapil Dev - The man who began India's journey as cricketing prowess

India has completed its 75th year of independence. On this particular occasion, we look at India's sporting legends. In terms of cricket, Kapil Dev changed the face of Indian cricket forever.

India at 75 Sports Legends Kapil Dev The man who began India's journey as cricketing prowess-ayh
Kolkata, First Published Aug 15, 2022, 8:00 AM IST

It is a landmark moment for India, celebrating its 75 years of independence. Also, for the past 75 years, India has scaled greater heights in sports. And, speaking of sports, cricket is at the pinnacle in terms of the most popular sport in the country. Naturally, it has produced several legends, one of which happens to be Kapil Dev.

An all-rounder, Dev hailed from Chandigarh in Haryana and began his competitive cricket career in 1975, playing for the state. In October 1978, he made his international debut for Team India in Tests, followed by the One-Day Internationals (ODIs) in the same month. During the 1982-83 season, he was handed captaincy duties for his consistent performance across departments.

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Eventually, Dev led the team during the 1983 World Cup in England. Despite being considered the minnows, India came up with an out-of-ordinary performance and managed to make its way into the final for the first time, playing its third-ever WC. Facing the two-time defending champion Windies at Lord's, the side held nerves under his leadership.

It stunned the world champion to emerge as the new world champion, sending the Indian fans and the global cricketing fraternity wild. Dev became a legend instantly as he lifted the coveted trophy at the balcony of the Lord's pavilion, a moment etched in the memory of every Indian. The exact moment changed Indian cricket forever, as the team began its journey to become a global cricket powerhouse, all thanks to Dev and co.

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Meanwhile, Dev continued to impress with his cricketing performance in both formats, eventually calling it a day in 1994. He scored 5,248 runs in 131 Test at an average of 31.05, including eight tons and 27 half-centuries, along with a top score of 163. He also claimed 434 wickets at an average of 29.64, including 23 fifers and a couple of ten-fors.

As for the ODIs, Dev scored 3,783 in 225 matches at 23.79, including a ton and 14 half-centuries. He has a top score of an unbeaten 175. Considering his ODI bowling, he has claimed 253 at 27.45 and an economy of 3.71, including a fifer, with best figures of 5/43. Unfortunately, the Twenty20s (T20s) did not exist when he summed up his outstanding career.

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Looking at some of the records Dev holds in international cricket:

  • Best bowling by a skipper in a Test innings (9/83)
  • Most Test wickets by an Indian in a calendar year (75)
  • Best bowling by a skipper in a Test match (10/135)
  • The only player to score over 4,000 runs and bag 400-plus wickets in Tests among all-rounders
  • The only player to score over 600 runs and bag 70-plus wickets in Tests in a calendar year
  • First Indian to score an ODI century (175* vs Zimbabwe)
  • First Indian to claim an ODI fifer (5/43 vs Australia)
  • First to score 3,000 runs and claim 250 wickets.

Below are some of the recognitions Dev was awarded:

  • Arjuna Award - 1979-80
  • Padma Shri - 1982
  • Wisden Cricketer of the Year - 1983
  • Padma Bhushan - 1991
  • Wisden Indian Cricketer of the Century - 2002
  • ICC Cricket Hall of Fame - 2010
  • CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement award - 2013
  • Lieutenant Colonel (Indian Territorial Army) - 2008
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