‘Kapil da Jawab Nahi’: Sandeep Patil Wishes His Former Captain
On Kapil Dev’s 62nd birthday, former India teammate Sandeep Patil with an ode to his 1983 World Cup winning captain.
How time flies.
I still remember seeing a young, lanky bowler from Haryana running in and bowling his heart out at Mumbai's Brabourne Stadium in the early 1970s.
I also remember how the same boy, who the world would come to know as Kapil Dev, went about asking for more rotis during the lunch break at an India under-19 camp. Late Raj Singh Dungarpur could never have imagined it, and when he asked the young lad why he wanted the extra rotis, he got a typically Kapil reply: "Fast bowling karne ke liye extra roti khaani padti hain" (you need extra rotis to bowl fast).
I think Mr Dungarpur's reply hit home for Kapil. "India has never produced fast bowlers," he had said. Maybe Kapil Dev's real journey began after that comment.
Today, as he turns 62, Kapil Dev is known to the world as an all-time legend of cricket.
Haryana Hurricane: India’s G.O.A.T.?
Very few have been lucky enough to see Kapil's journey from his early days till present day, and I am among them. I wasn't only lucky in seeing him take big strides every time he held a red cherry, knocking and bouncing batsmen over at all levels.
I also got a chance to face him in his heyday, and more fondly, open the bowling with him on the 1981 tour of New Zealand. People still don't believe that I took more wickets than the great Kapil Dev in the Wellington Test on that tour!
It was a wonderful experience to be part of a team which had legends like Sunil Gavaskar, GR Viswanath, Dilip Vengsarkar, Mohinder Amarnath, Syed Kirmani, and the best all-rounder of our era, Kapil Dev.
Kapil, in my mind, will remain eternal for his skill as a bowler – his never-say-die attitude, his willingness to bowl at any stage, his readiness to bowl his heart out. His accuracy and out-swingers trapped some of the best batsmen in world cricket.
But those who actually played with him still recall his batting – and fielding – with special fondness (or fear, in the case of opposition players). Kapil wasn't elegant, but he just had this knack of timing the ball so sweetly one couldn't get what hit them.
‘The Best Seat in the House’
Many still recall my 129 against England at Old Trafford in 1982, when I hit Bob Willis for six fours in an over to claim a world record. But my most vivid memory from that game is Kapil's knock of 65 in the same innings. I was batting at 50 when he arrived at the crease – I had barely moved into the 60s when he left, having smashed his runs in no time! (Dev's 65 formed the bulk of a 96-run seventh-wicket stand between the pair.) It was absolutely amazing, because I just stood still at the non-strikers' end, applauding Kapil's fluent stroke-play from the best seat in the house.
To people who remember me for my stroke play and hard-hitting ability, I always say I was no match in front of Kapil's powers when he was in full flow.
‘Kapil da Jawab Nahi’
His first endorsement – 'Palmolive da jawab nahi' – made history in the world of advertisements. Today, as he turns 62, I will say: Kapil, tera jawab nahi!
A small-town boy with a simplistic attitude towards life. The man who led India to its first World Cup triumph yet maintained his simplicity both on and off the field.
As a fellow cricketer, one could joke with him, laugh with him, fight with him, be angry with him – but Kapil remained unfazed.
It's difficult to express in words what Kapil means to Indian cricket; I could go on for days, or weeks, and never stop.
Happy Birthday, Kapil! Hope you entertain us for many more years. Long live Kapil Dev!
(This story is being republished from The Quint’s archives on the occasion of Kapil Dev’s birthday)
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