Today 6th January is the 56th birthday iconic Indian cricketer and former Indian Cricket team captain Kapil Dev Nikhanj. Hailing from the state of Haryana, this fearsome pacer was aptly called ‘The Haryana Hurricane.’ In an international career that spanned 16 years and 3 decades, Kapil Dev amassed a total of 9,031 runs with 9 centuries and 687 wickets. He played his last test in March, 1994 against New Zealand and last one day international match against West Indies in October, 1994.
Kapil Dev made his debut against Pakistan in October, 1978 in both test and one day formats. His teammates remember him as young chap without a lot of polish in terms of manners but a ferocious competitor on the ground. He was known for medium fast out-swingers but later on developed a deadly in-swinging off-cutter as well. Apart from being the new ball attack spearhead throughout the 1980s, he was also a very dependable lower middle order batsman, a test average of 31.54 bearing proof of that fact.
Kapil Dev made his first test century in January, 1979 against West Indies and his only one day century against Zimbabwe during the 1983 World Cup when his 175 unbeaten saved the Indian team from the brink of defeat. He scores a total 8 centuries in test matches. Throughout his career, Kapil held a number of records including being the highest test wicket taker by beating Sir Richard Hadlee in 1994. The record was later broken by Courtney Walsh of West Indies in 1999.
In 1988, Kapil Dev held the world record of most one day international wickets beating Joel Garner. The record was finally broken by Wasim Akrqam of Pakistan. Kapil Dev is the only player till date to have scored more than 4,000 runs and taken 400 wickets in test matches. His highest cricketing achievement of course is winning the Cricket World Cup in 1983 as the captain of Indian team. It was India’s only world cup win for 28 years.
After retirement, Kapil Dev briefly became Indian National Team’s coach during the 1999-00 season. Former Indian player Manoj Prabhakar had accused Kapil Dev of offering him money to fix a match which created a lot of uproar but nothing was prove. Kapil Dev has been awarded a number of India’s highest civilian awards and accolades including Arjuna Award, Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan. He was named Wisden Indian Cricketer of the Century in 2002.