Thursday, April 9, 2020

Tall Kapil Dev emphasises Social distancing and supporting Nation ~ always a Hero


20th Jan 1980 – concluding day of Pongal test – 5th Test between India and Pakistan – the great allrounder performed so well 84 runs in first innings and 11 wicket haul, enabling an easy 10 wicket win – the ground had been thrown open and as the crowds cheered, the Man of the Match was given Enfield Bullet – as Kapil Dev majestically sat on it – the stadium erupted in joy – such was the charisma of Haryana Hurricane ! – " Palmolive da jawab nahin" – made the shaving cream sales sour !

It was ODI no. 54 at Quetta on 1st Oct 1978, when India led by Bishan Bedi played Pak and 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 !  In that one dayer Kapil Dev made his debut alongside senior Chetan Chauhan and Surinder Amarnath.  Mohinder Amarnath’s 51 and 2 wickets fetched him man of the match.  Kapil had figures of 8-0-27-1; Karsan Ghavri 35/1, Bishan Bedi 2 for 44 and Srinivasan Venkatraghavan 8-0-14-0 !

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 – do you know that there was one ODI, whence he played as a pure batsman, not bowling a single delivery in a completed innings.  .. .. and on 25th June 1983, the whole Nation watched with pride as Kapil Dev held aloft the Prudential World Cup 1983 leading the Nation.

Kapil is truly a hero – in hitting sixers, in clean bowling batsman and .. .. the  legendary Kapil Dev on Thursday slammed Shoaib Akhtar's idea of a made-for-television three-match ODI series between India and Pakistan to raise funds for the COVID-19 pandemic, saying "India doesn't need the money" and it is not worth risking lives for a cricket match.

Speaking to PTI, Akhtar on Wednesday proposed a closed-door series to jointly raise funds to fight the deadly virus both in India and Pakistan. Dev said the proposal is not feasible. "He is entitled to his opinion but we don't need to raise the money. We have enough. For us, what is important right now is that how our authorities work together to deal with this crisis. I am still seeing a lot of blame game on television from the politicians and that needs to stop," Dev told PTI.

"Anyway, the BCCI has donated a hefty amount (Rs 51 crore) for the cause and is in a position to donate much more if the need arises. It doesn't need to raise funds. "The situation is unlikely to get normal anytime soon and organising a cricket game means putting our cricketers at risk which we don't need to," said the World Cup-winning former captain.

Dev said cricket should not even matter for at least the next six months. "It is just not worth the risk. And how much money can you make from three games? In my view, you can't even think of cricket for the next five to six months," he said. Dev said the focus, at the moment, should only be on saving lives and taking care of the poor who are struggling to make ends meet in a lockdown situation.  "Cricket will resume when things get normal. The game can't be bigger than the country. The pressing issue is to look after the poor, the hospital workers, the police and all other people who are on the frontline of this war," said the 61-year-old.

As an Indian, Dev feels proud that his country is in a position help other nations including the United States. President Donald Trump has thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for helping the United States with the supply of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malarial drug being touted as a potential cure for COVID-19 patients. "Helping others is in our culture and I feel proud about that. We should not seek credit after helping others. We should strive to become a nation which gives more and more rather than taking from others," he said.

Like everyone else, Dev is at home and practising social distancing. Asked how he views the current situation, he said: "Nelson Mandela stayed in a tiny cell for 27 years. Compared to that, we are in a privileged position (that we just have to stay at home for sometime)."  "There is nothing bigger than life at the moment and that is what we need to save.

Mature words from a tall leader .. .. Trivia – when Kapil played as a pure batsman. 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 quickfire 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! (Sr), Rajinder Ghai, Ravi Shastri, Maninder Singh.  Krish Srikkanth bowled 2 overs while Azharuddin bowled the last over.  Border’s unbeaten 91 saw them through.

We have been admiring you Kapil from your playing days and continue to do so !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
9th Apr 2020.

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