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Saturday, February 4, 2017

when the great Kapil Dev played as a batsman and blasted fastest 50 !

Those days matches were far and few and one vividly remembers that Pak Series when the legendary Kapil Dev debuted !  ~ not many would know or remember that he first played in ODI, which India won **

It was ODI no. 54 at Quetta on 1st Oct 1978, when India led by Bishan Bedi won by 4 runs ~ that was Indian second win in an ODI, the first having come against East Africa in inaugural World Cup 1975.  At Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad on 16th Oct 1978, Pakistanis and the World were to witness a rare spectacle – a bouncer from Indian pacer, and Sadiq Mohammad calling for a helmet !

That was a historical series – for there had been no Cricket between 1961 to 1978 between the neighbouring the Nations.  In the WC 1975 too, India had not played Pak.  On that tour, visitors were led by Bishan Singh  Bedi, the enigmatic left-arm spinner, aided by leggie Chandrasekhar and Erapalli Prasanna – the tour turned a graveyard for the famous spin quartet is another story.  Madanlal and Karsan Ghavri were in the squad, so also was an youngster, Kapil Dev, a man who could bowl fast, and who went on to create World Record for the highest no. of wickets for many years, before the record was broken.   Kapil also scored a breezy 50 in the 3rd test at Karachi. 

Kapil Dev Nikhanj would ever be remembered as one of the greatest All rounders of India scoring 5248 runs in 131 Tests (184 innings) and taking 434 wickets.  In 225  One dayers, he scored 3783 runs taking 253 wickets. 

Trivia.  There was one ODI, whence he played as a pure batsman, not bowling a single delivery in a completed innings.  That was ODI 395 on 7th Oct 1986 against Australia at Rajkot, where he was the captain.  During the time, when delaying the over rate and bowling lesser no. of overs was an approved tactic,  India opening with Krish Srikkanth and Raman Lamba made a healthy 260 for 6 in 48 overs.  Lamba made a century.  Kapil Dev blasted a quick fire 58 off 31 balls with 5 fours and 2 sixers.   But the Indian attack without Kapil lacked the incisiveness.  It was Madanlal, Rudra Pratap Singh, Rajinder Ghai, Ravi Shastri, Maninder Singh.  Krish Srikkanth bowled 2 overs while Azharuddin bowled the last over.  Border’s unbeaten 91 saw them through. 

Not many would remember that Rudra Pratap Singh [the Senior !] – another left arm fast bowler played in only 2 ODIs ending up with a solitary wicket of Dean Jones in what was to be his last ODI. ~ and there were some instances when Kapil Dev opened the batting too –more specifically in that 1992 World Cup in Australia.
The first instance perhaps was ODI no. 722 at Mackay, Harrup Park on 28th Feb 1992, when Kapil surprised all,  walking with Krish Srikkanth – but that match lasted just 2 deliveries of Ramanayake – Kapil not facing a ball at all.  Against Zimbabwe at Hamiltaon, Kapil & Srikkanth had a partnership of 23, Kapil fell for 10; Srikkanth made 32.  It was a 32 over match, which India won.   Then in CAB jubilee – Hero Cup match against West Indies at Motera, Ahmedabad, in Nov 1993, Kapil opened with Manoj Prabhakar. 

Those who saw Kapil would ever remember for his pace, his gutsy hitting, hit athleticism, his fielding [ever remember that great catch he took in 1983 finals at Lords running back yards to dismiss Viv Richards off Madanlal], his running between the wickets and his passion for the game.

Truly, a great inspiring all-rounder.  The great Kapil Dev, who transformed the way, Indians were respected on field.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar

4th Feb 2017.

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