To think that a movie could get anywhere close to doing justice with the stature of a player who in most ways defined Indian cricket’s existence, would be a far fetched idea. That obviously doesn’t stop us from getting excited about the film 83. Being directed by Kabir Khan and featuring Ranveer Singh as the legendary former Indian cricket captain Kapil Dev, the film is now nearing its release in April. But that’s not what we’re going to talk about here.
In a cricket crazy nation that can create superheroes overnight based on one match-winning performance, to sustain over three different decades along with adding new achievements to credit is an unthinkable deal. In 1978, when a certain Kapil Dev from Haryana made his national debut for the Indian cricket team, nobody could have anticipated how he was going to redefine the status of the sport in the country.
Popularly known as The Haryana Hurricane, Kapil Dev did what no one before him had done for the cricketing world and no one ever could. From tumbling records for fun to adding more feathers to his hat everybody, it’s virtually impossible for any cricket lover to even begin to list the magnitude of his contribution. But since the film that in most ways is a biopic based on his life comes out real soon, we thought we’d talk about the five glorious feats he has to his name that no cinematic genius can frankly do justice to even with the noblest intentions.
The 1983 World Cup Win
Kapil Dev had barely spent four years with the team as a young player when he was handed over the captaincy of the Indian cricket team to lead them into the World Cup. As a young man who was junior to most other members of the same team, we know he ended up winning his team and his country the biggest prize attached to the sport in form of the World Cup. From leading the team from the front to making sure to keep their morale high, the 1983 world cup win was unbelievably scripted. The win that inspired a generation to take the sport up, the win that put India on the world map as a dominant cricketing force, and the win that narrated the greatest underdog story, the achievement was as much as his as the team’s. The way he ran 20 yards backward to catch a skier by Viv Richards in the finals under pressure, is a visual that inspired every Indian in so many ways
The 175 Against Zimbabwe
In a league match against a team like Zimbabwe when India found itself tottering while batting first, Kapil Dev turned up and pulled something unimaginable. He scored what back then was the highest individual score in the history of the game by registering a thumping 175 that included six huge sixes. He batted with the tail and took the attack on the opposition to not just bail them out of a difficult situation but also place them in a commanding position. As sad as it may sound, the extraordinary innings that the crowd sitting the stands witnessed could not be broadcasted. It remains a story that most people get a twinkle in their eyes just listening about. The magnitude of that special innings was such that it changed the way cricket was played. The special Kapil Dev innings started being seen as a benchmark since no one before him had displayed such fearlessness while counter-attacking with dominance. The most exciting aspect for most looking forward to 83 movie would be to view this innings on screen, even if it is a mere recreation.
Highest Test Wicket Taker
In a country like India where a lot of batting greats were coming to the front, Kapil Dev was an all-rounder. However, his out-swinging deliveries with his side on action made him one of the most feared bowlers of his time. With 434 test wickets to his name, Kapil Dev ended his career as the highest wicket-taker in the format, a record that he held for more than five years until the West Indian fast bowler Courtney Walsh went past him in 1999. It was a huge achievement for an Indian pace bowler to retire with that record under his name after having played the game for more than 15 years.
Only player With 400 Test Wickets and 5000 Runs
While his bowling prowess put him amongst the all-time greats, there was a reason why Kapil Dev was considered the all-time greatest all-rounder of the game. Despite having been retired more than 25 years ago, Kapil Dev is still the only player with more than 400 test wickets and more than 5000 test runs to his name. Doesn’t this reflect on the unthinkable abilities this legend must have carried on the field? The fact that great all-rounders like Jacques Kallis and Andrew Flintoff couldn’t get past him, speaks volumes about how he controlled the game. He has as many as 8 Test 100s that tell us about his batting abilities too. Kapil Dev truly defined what it was like to be a cricketing all-rounder.
Wisden Cricketer of the Century
In 2002, Kapil Dev was adjudged the cricketer of the century by Wisden, an honor that he richly deserved. It wasn’t so much as his stats that furthered his cause, it was his contribution in capacities that were beyond any descriptions. From being a young skipper winning India the world cup to ending his career as the leading wicket-taker, from inventing his own pull shot that got popular as the Natraj hook to inculcating a culture of fighting spirit in the team, he was what one would consider as the biggest endorser of the game.
With names like Kabir Khan, Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Sajid Nadiadwala handling a film of the scale of 83, we have no doubts they will try and do justice to the aura of Kapil Dev and what he achieved. However, no descriptive textbook, a documentary or even a full-length cinematic feature could capture the magnanimity of Kapil Dev. We’re a thankful lot since the legend continues to voice his opinions and stays involved with the game in some way or the other. The cricketing world will keep producing more stars and more legends, what Kapil Dev defined was an era that took birth with him and sadly lasted with him too.