India always had the legacy of producing the finest cricketers around the globe. Right from Gavaskar to Kohli, the number of Indian batsmen who have ruled world cricket is incomparable. But in his latest interview when he was asked to name the greatest ever match-winner India has ever produced, the legendary Indian batsman Sunil Gavaskar named India’s 1983 World-Cup winning captain and one of the finest all-rounders India has ever produced, Kapil Dev as his choice.
Former Indian captain and legendary batsman Sunil Gavaskar showered heaps of praise on legendary Indian all-rounder Kapil Dev in his latest interview. He even said that Kapil Dev is the biggest match-winner India has ever produced. He is the only player in the history of cricket to have taken more than 400 wickets (434 wickets) and scored more than 5000 runs in Tests
His comments came in exactly on the same day on which the whole of India is celebrating its first-ever World Cup victory which happened 37 years ago.
It was on June 25, 1983, at Lord’s that the Indian team, led by the ever so charismatic Kapil Dev stunned two-time defending World champions West Indies to clinch India’s first-ever World Cup.
Nobody gave a chance to the Indian team before the match as they were up against the mighty West Indies. To say that, this match inspired millions of Indians would be an understatement. It in a way was a statement to the world what India was capable of as a nation and even gave inspiration to people like Sachin Tendulkar to take up the game.
Gavaskar was also part of that legendary side that stunned the Clive Lyod led West Indies. So it was quite obvious that he termed him as India’s greatest ever match-winner.
“In my opinion, Kapil Dev is the biggest match-winner India has ever produced. This is so because he could win games both with his batting and bowling abilities,” Gavaskar said.
There were always media reports of conflict of interest or rifts between Gavaskar and Kapil Dev. Interestingly Gavaskar was the captain of the team before the board decided to give the captaincy to Kapil Dev before the World Cup. There was captaincy shuffle between these two even after the World Cup which added to the rumours. Gavaskar rejected these reports and claimed that all these were just media creations to create the rift between them and went on to narrate an incident to prove their friendship.
“I remember the first time I played against him was at Chennai's M.A. Chidambaram Stadium in the Wills Trophy in 1978. We had just returned from the tour of Australia and Kapil and another talented all-rounder Rajendra Jadeja started to bowl against Mumbai.
“Kapil was bowling well but was bowling from a bit wide of the crease, so I was able to leave the deliveries easily. When I went towards his end I asked him to bowl from a bit closer to the wicket. His teammates thought I was sledging him but he told them otherwise and then started to trouble the Mumbai batsmen following my suggestion,” he added.
He added that it was the first instance where he met Kapil and the fact that he helped him despite being on the opposite team stayed with him for long, which led to mutual respect thereafter.
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