As a young, impressionable trainee, Kapil Dev wanted more food at the camp. When asked why, he said, he was a fast bowler, and was in turn ridiculed and mocked at by the coach, who said that India never produced fast bowlers. This was the kind of back drop in which Kapil Dev Nikhanj picked 434 Test and 253 ODI wickets for India.
Kapil Dev Ramlal Nikhanj born 6 January 1959, better known as Kapil Dev, is a former Indian cricketer. He captained the Indian cricket team which won the 1983 Cricket World Cup. Named by Wisden as the Indian Cricketer of the Century in 2002, Kapil Dev is one of the greatest all-rounders of all time. He was also India’s national cricket coach for 10 months between October 1999 and August 2000.
Kapil was a right-arm pace bowler noted for his graceful action and potent outswinger, and was India’s main strike bowler for most of his career. He also developed a fine inswinging yorker during the 1980s, which he used very effectively against tail-enders. As a batsman, he was a natural striker of the ball who could hook and drive effectively. A naturally aggressive player, he often helped India in difficult situations by taking the attack to the opposition. Nicknamed The Haryana Hurricane, he represented the Haryana cricket team in domestic cricket. He retired in 1994, holding the world record for the most number of wickets taken in Test cricket, a record subsequently broken by Courtney Walsh in 2000. At the time, he was also India’s highest wicket taker in both major forms of cricket, Tests and ODIs. He is the only player in the history of cricket to have taken more than 400 wickets (434 wickets) and scored more than 5,000 runs in Tests, making him one of the greatest all-rounders to have played the game. On 8 March 2010, Kapil Dev was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.
Kapil Dev was born as Kapil Dev Ramlal Nikhanj to Ram Lal Nikhanj, a building and timber contractor and his wife Raj Kumari in Chandigarh on 6 January 1959. His parents had migrated from Rawalpindi, Punjab during the Partition of India. Kapil Dev was a student at D.A.V. School and joined Desh Prem Azad in 1971.
Kapil Dev made an impressive debut for Haryana in November 1975 against Punjab with a 6 wicket haul, restricting Punjab to just 63 runs and helping Haryana to victory. Kapil finished the season with 121 wickets in 30 matches.
In the 1976–77 season opener against Jammu & Kashmir, he had a match haul of 8/36 to win the match for his team. While his contributions for the rest of the season was ordinary, Haryana qualified for the pre quarterfinals. Kapil Dev achieved his then best innings haul of 7/20 in just 9 overs in the second innings to skittle Bengal for 58 runs in under 19 overs. Although Haryana lost to Bombay in the quarter finals, his form made the nation sit up and take notice.
Kapil began his 1977–78 season claiming 8/38 in the first innings against Services. With 3 wickets in the second innings, he took his maiden 10-wicket haul in first-class cricket, a feat he would later achieve twice in Test cricket. With 23 wickets in 4 matches, he was selected for the Irani Trophy, Duleep Trophy and Wills Trophy matches.
For the 1978–79 season, Haryana had a repeat encounter with Bengal in the pre-quarterfinal match after a lackluster bowling season from Kapil Dev (12 wickets from 4 matches). Kapil Dev however scored 2 half-centuries in the group stage matches. In the pre-quarterfinal match, he rose to the occasion by taking a 5-wicket haul in the first innings. Poor batting by Haryana in the second innings meant Bengal could avenge their loss from 2 seasons back by scoring the required 161 runs for the loss of just 4 wickets. Kapil Dev stood out in the Irani Trophy match scoring 62 runs coming in at number 8. He also took 5 catches in the game where Karnataka was defeated by the Rest of India XI. Kapil Dev arrived in the national spotlight with a trademark standout performance in the finals of the Duleep Trophy taking a first innings haul of 7/65 in 24 overs. Kapil was included in the North Zone squad for Deodhar Trophy and Wills Trophy for the first time. He played his first Test match in the season against Pakistan.
After the World Cup, India hosted the West Indies cricket team and felt their fury as the tourists won the Test series 3–0 and the ODI Series 5–0. Kapil Dev achieved his best test bowling performance in a loss at Motera Stadium, Ahmedabad with a return of 9/83. His bowling performance in the test and ODI series was let down by his poor batting performance. The selectors ended the Kapil’s reign by reappointing Gavaskar as captain in early 1984.