<br>During India-Pakistan matches, the competitiveness between Kapil and Imran Khan — the greatest all-rounders to have ever played the game — was a treat to watch.
The cricket world was lucky to see the emergence of these stars from the subcontinent who shared the spotlight with the likes of Ian Botham and Richard Hadlee in the 1970s and 1980s.
Both men led their underrated teams to World cup titles and had many parallels throughout their careers.
It all started on October 16, 1978, when Kapil stepped on to the field at Faisalabad, Pakistan, to play his first international game against a full-strength Pakistan team.
He entered primarily as a bowler, who could strike a few lusty blows. Growing up from the fields of Haryana, Kapil had created waves in the domestic circuit taking truckloads of wickets for the Haryana team in the Ranji Trophy.
The then 19-year old’s figures in the first innings were largely unimpressive. To be fair, the two Pakistani legends, Zaheer Abbas and Javed Miandad, stitched a mighty partnership worth 255 runs, as Pakistan finished with a massive first innings total in excess of 500 runs.
Kapil went wicketless in the first innings, but came back with great verve in the second, scalping Sadiq Mohammad as his first international wicket and the match eventually ended in a draw, with GR Viswanath’s gritty 145 being the highlight for the Indian team.
While Kapil did give glimpses of his phenomenal prowess as an all-rounder, the series was largely forgettable for India, as Pakistan trounced them 2-0.
However, the all-rounder continued taking giant strides in international cricket. This particularly came to the fore against the same opposition in 1979 in Chennai, where he snapped seven wickets (11-wicket haul) in a whirlwind performance that led India to a memorable series victory.
Another instance where Kapil impressed against Pakistan was in the Rothmans Four-Nations Cup on March 22, 1985 at the Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium.
Put into bat first, India were bowled out for a paltry 125 in 42.4 overs courtesy a sensational six-wicket haul (6/14) by Imran Khan. Only two Indian batters managed to get double-digit scores in the innings.
In reply, Indian bowlers, led by skipper Kapil Dev (3/17), put in an inspired performance and bowled out Pakistan for 87 runs (32.5 overs), winning by 38 runs.
During the second Test in Karachi in 1982, Kapil was fearless as usual with his batting, smashing 50 off just 30 balls. That knock by Kapil was a brave one. He eventually got dismissed for 73 in the first innings. India lost that match by an innings and 86 runs, but Kapil stood out for his grit and determination.
Champion players always finds a way to perform against top opponents and by making major contributions in India’s win against Pakistan, Kapil proved his championship mentality during his historic career.
PLAY FREE ONLINE GAMES
Recommended: Courses in Sports Management