Kapil Dev Curated

Former Indian Cricketer and Captain


  • You scored 175 on a day when your team was trailing at 17 for 5. What was the pressure on you?

    The pressure was the same like every other day I had to perform like any other day. The only difference was that, it was my day. In life you will have your days; keep working towards that day every day. That day people will talk about you. So prepare yourself for that day.

  • How should we handle negativity and criticism?

    In any situation, always take the positive aspect, if the criticism improves you, use it as a tool, if not, don’t take it. If someone abuses you and you don’t let it affect you, it won’t make any difference but if you let it affect you, then you have lost it. Work sincerely towards achievements. Be the one giving an autograph and not the one asking for it.

  • What qualities should a leader acquire?

    A good leader knows his team well. As a leader one should respect the feeling of the team members. If a member of your team is unable to perform because his dad is unwell, then as a team leader, you should accommodate him and understand his crisis. If your team members have respect for you, then the team will always provide the best in them.

  • With a country like Afghanistan getting more adept at cricket, what can we do as a pioneer cricketing country to help them?

    Let them participate in the Duleep Trophy as it will prepare them for Test cricket. Playing against quality domestic teams will help them develop confidence. The BCCI has been very encouraging towards Afghanistan by letting them use our facilities and grounds. I feel this will be an important step towards developing their confidence for the longer format. Afghanistan have played exceptionally well in limited overs cricket. This was a new experience and they shouldn’t get demoralized with the result. They are quick learners and I am sure with a little support and encouragement, they will live up to Test standards.

  • What did your 1983 World Cup team have that the 1975 and 1979 Indian sides did not?

    Self-belief. We had a good tour of the West Indies prior to the 1983 World Cup. We levelled the One-day series 1-1 before losing the decider. It was not a joke to beat the West Indies in those days. Once we beat them (in Berbice, Guyana), we realised that we could beat anyone. Besides we had a number of all rounders. If you consider that men like Kirti Azad and Madan Lal – who batted at no.7 and no.9 for us – have scored 16 Ranji Trophy centuries each, it becomes apparent that we had tremendous batting depth. Imagine a player like Syed Kirmani was batting at no.10! Even last-man Balwinder Singh Sandhu could bat. We had attacking batsmen (Krish Srikkanth, Sandeep Patil and Kapil himself) and also those like Sunil Gavaskar, Mohinder Amarnath, Dilip Vengsarkar and Yash Pal Sharma who could see us through the 60 overs. Our fielding was safe rather than brilliant, though men like Roger Binny and Yash Pal were outstanding. Gavaskar did a great job in the slips and Kirmani was a fine wicketkeeper.

  • What kind of a player did you like to bowl to?

    Bowling to a player of  Virender Sehwag's calibre is really fun. I would not like to bowl to someone who would play five maiden overs and let me go. I think I like to bowl to a batsman who is ready to take a challenge.

  • Do you think young Indian players should play in county cricket to polish their skills?

    I cannot say anything regarding this topic. This decision is based on an individuals beliefs. Our Cricketers play for 10 months out of 12, so they have to keep an eye on what skill they lack in which can be improved by playing in County cricket. In our time it was believed that to be a complete cricketer, you have to play in County. I have learned a lot from playing in county cricket myself.

  • Who inspired you to become an all-rounder?

    For me, there is no all rounder in the world who can come anywhere near close enough to Sir Garfield Sobers. Not just in the all rounder category, but there is no cricketer who was as good as him. I learned everything watching him play. Even had his posters in my room.

  • Does India not have a culture of all-rounders?

    I don't think this is the case. If that was it then Indians wouldn't acknowledge Ravichandran Ashwin as an all rounder. He has 324 wickets, and has 4 centuries to his name. The debate is somewhat true because every child in India wants to become a batsman. Whereas in Pakistan, every child wants to become a bowler. Every country has a basic nature regarding Cricket. In India, over the last 50 years, there has been a craze for Batsmen. Check the records and you will know that Indian Batsmen have outperformed Bowlers. The current Head Coach of India, Ravi Shastri was an all rounder himself.

  • Do you often help current players with suggestions and tips?

    I don't go to them - I have learnt this from Sunny bhai [Sunil Gavaskar].. I won't go to them unless they need me. When they become big players and play for India, it is their responsibility. No former cricketer would not want to help. We all want to help them - but they have to ask.. If they think we can help, no one will say no. But I don't think we should go to their dressing room because they have their own ways and technique.

  • How does it feel to be inducted into the ICC Hall of Fame?

    I am proud and happy to have been inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame and it's amazing to think that I have been picked as one of the greats of Indian cricket. I am delighted to have been named alongside so many great players of the game but for me, when I was growing up, the man I always looked up to was Sunil Gavaskar from the moment I started playing cricket. Now to be named also alongside greats of the game such as Clive Lloyd, Richard Hadlee and Wasim Akram is truly fantastic.

  • What inspired you to write a book on Gurdwaras?

  • How do you see our present Indian team?

  • What advice would you give Virat Kohli as he continues growing in his career?

  • Do you think T20s and Test cricket can go hand-in-hand in this fast paced era?

  • Which player from the past or present would you play with or against if you had one more chance?

  • विराट कोहली पर भरोसा करके भारतीय क्रिकेट टीम को एक व्यक्ति सेना के रूप में चित्रित करने वाले मीडिया पर आपके विचार क्या हैं?

  • आपके अनुसार इस वर्तमान भारतीय क्रिकेट टीम की सबसे बड़ी ताकत क्या है?

  • आपके समय के खिलाड़ियों और अब के खिलाड़ियों के बीच सांस्कृतिक अंतर क्या है?

  • निर्णय लेने पर हावी होने वाले प्रशासन और खिलाड़ियों के बीच सत्ता संघर्ष पर आपकी क्या राय है?

  • How do you compare your 1983 World Cup winning side to that of MS Dhoni’s 2011 World Cup winning side?

  • In what way do you think MS Dhoni’s side was better than yours?

  • What was the mindset of the dressing room when the decision to make you the captain came about?

  • What are your views on people terming the team as a “One Man Army” when superstars like Sachin and Virat are present in that setup to get the job done?

  • What are your views on a team being tainted as corrupt due to an individual’s indulgence in match fixing?

  • If you had to choose between Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar, who would you choose and why?

  • Who do you think left a greater impact on modern cricket? MS Dhoni or Virat Kohli?

  • How big an experience was it for you to share the dressing room with your idol Sunil Gavaskar?

  • Who do you think left a greater impact on modern cricket? MS Dhoni or Virat Kohli?

  • सुनील गावस्कर के साथ ड्रेसिंग रूम साझा करना आपके लिए कितना बड़ा अनुभव था, जिसे आप पहचानना चाहते हैं?

  • You said once that Sunil Gavaskar was an idol for your generation. Can you recall some events where he showed the utmost professionalism?

  • How have you managed to stay appealing to so many generations ever since your cricketing days?

  • क्या 1983 के विश्व कप के पहले मैच से लेकर अंतिम मैच तक की योजना में कोई बदलाव हुआ क्योंकि टूर्नामेंट आगे बढ़ गया?

  • किस युग ने बेहतर तेज गेंदबाजों का उत्पादन किया?

  • How much has the game changed ever since your playing days?

  • You began the endorsement phase in Indian Cricket by being the first person to represent a brand. Nowadays it seems that the modern cricketer is more of a brand face and less of an actual sportsman. Can you tell us your views on that?

  • Everyone remembers or has heard of that infamous 1986 Sharjah match where Pakistan snatched victory from the Indian team with Javed Miandad hitting a six at the last ball of the innings. Can you tell us if losing that match and in that manner leave any psychological impact on you and your team?

  • Everyone remembers or has heard of that infamous 1986 Sharjah match where Pakistan snatched victory from the Indian team with Javed Miandad hitting a six at the last ball of the innings. Can you tell us if losing that match and in that manner leave any psychological impact on you and your team?

  • जब भारत-पाकिस्तान मैच 18 साल के अंतराल के बाद हुआ था तब पाकिस्तान का सामना करना कैसा था?

  • How do you think the media has affected or fuelled this India-Pakistan rivalry in recent times?

  • Did your rivalry with Imran Khan for the title of the best All Rounder add an extra bit of flame to the India-Pakistan matches?

  • How was sledging during your days? And how did it get in the India-Pakistan games?

  • In your long test career, you encountered many players. Who were some of the most difficult batsmen to bowl at?

    The easier question is not which are the most difficult batsmen but who were the most interesting batsmen!! To me, interesting is someone who is ready to take a challenge, someone who is looking to take you apart. Somebody who is difficult is somebody, like Geoffrey Boycott, who will play ten overs and not get many runs. And make me tired! That’s a difficult batsman, not an interesting batsman. Somebody like Vivian Richards is the most interesting batsman I ever bowled to because if I bowl a good ball, he can still hit it for four and he’s ready to take a challenge. That way I bowl better to respond to the challenge. So, interesting batsmen were people like Vivian Richards, difficult batsmen were people who don’t get runs, who just stick around at the crease.

  • You took many wickets in India where the pitches are said to be less suitable for pace bowlers. How did you get wickets in those conditions?

    Let’s put in this way. I learned my cricket in the part of the world. So, I was never taught that these pitches are not suitable for me. I used to go in and say all kinds of pitches are suitable for me and I have to take wickets. I never decided I’m not enjoying these kinds of wickets – that was an important difference.

  • What were some of your favourite venues you played at outside of India?

    I think Johannesburg was very nice, Melbourne, Lords. I enjoyed the Caribbean also. I think the people in Barbados made playing there enjoyable. Jamaica was a beautiful smaller ground. And the cricketers we played against there were such fantastic cricketers during that period. Playing there was a real treat.

  • Which great captains have you played against, or under?

    A lot depends on the team you have. In our time, I played against a lot of captains and take somebody like Clive Lloyd. People say he had a great team but I would say that putting all of those 14 or 15 people together is not so easy when you say there are about 15 countries playing. Jamaica is a country, Barbados is a different country and so on. And still those countries come and play under one umbrella and they have to perform and respect the captain. I have a lot of time for a captain like Imran Khan. Or the Sri Lankan Ranatunga whose team was a very committed team, not a very strong team. Very talented but lacking the confidence to play against the best teams. But all of a sudden Ranatunga came in and he started to give confidence to the players.

  • What was the turning point of your life?

    When I began taking cricket seriously... I’d been a naughty boy till the two U-23 national camps, in Bangalore and Bombay (now Mumbai)... It was in those camps that I realised who I was, realised my potential... I am still learning, for life never stops educating you. Those camps were an eye-opener... I realised what it meant to be among the top 25 or so young cricketers of the country. The camps were conducted by Lt Col Hemu Adhikary... He made a big impression on me as did D.P. Azad, back in Chandigarh. Sadly, both are no more.

  • When you started off playing for India in the 1978-1979 season you were far from fluent in English. Did that make you feel awkward?

    Never. The impression was that only those who know English are intelligent and the rest fools. That hasn’t ever been the case... One needs to communicate well... In North India, from where I come, most people are happy conversing in languages other than English... What’s disappointing is people having preconceived notions. Reviewing where they stand, on individuals or issues, becomes very difficult for that lot.

  • How would you describe yourself as a cricketer?

    When I look back, I could say this or that could have been done 100 times better... But one makes mistakes and learns from them. Or, should learn. If somebody says he/she hasn’t made any mistake then, believe me, that person has done nothing in life. I mean, a cricketer won’t get injured sitting on the bench. He’ll have to actually be on the field to run the risk of injuries... In the later stages of my career, I’d consistently wished for a body of a 20-year-old and the mind of somebody who is 40. That would have been the perfect combination.

  • What made you tick as the India captain?

    Perhaps, the fact that I had no favourites... I didn’t have to push anybody from where I’d come (Chandigarh)... All my players, therefore, were close to me. I didn’t have to play favourites and it seemed I had the support of the entire country.

  • Was deciding to retire a painful call?

    No. The body had started cracking... I’d been injured in Melbourne in 1980-1981 and, then, in 1994-1995... It was a call from God... I spoke to Vishy (Gundappa Viswanath), who was then the chief selector, and to Romi, my wife... I told them I’d decided to leave the game which had been my passion.

  • What is your take on Indian cricket in the last 25 years since you retired?

    It has come a long way and the results are there in black and white... When we played, we used to hope for match fees etc. on the lines of what the Australia and England cricketers got. Today, the boot is on the other foot... In terms of the administration of the game, there needs to be transparency and an improvement is certainly needed in the system.

  • Given a chance, would you do anything differently?

    Life has been wonderful... Then, why do anything differently? I’d say it’s important to balance need with greed... I wish the younger generation enjoys what it does and doesn’t treat either playing or working as pressure. Success comes with enjoyment.

  • Have you ever reflected on the contribution you have made?

    It's not for me to reflect... Good to know that I proved to be an inspiration, but I just played my part. Played my game and my part. Nothing more.