Inspiring Indians - Kapil Dev

Kapil Dev holding the
Cricket World Cup trophy after
India won it in 1983

Kapil Dev Ramlal Nikhanj popularly known as Kapil Dev is a former Indian cricketer who was a right-arm pace bowler noted for his graceful action and potent outswinger, and was India's main strike bowler throughout most of his career. 

The Haryana Hurricane

Kapil Dev was born on 6th January 1959 in Chandigarh to Ram Lal Nikhanj and Raj Kumari Lajwanti. He was the sixth of seven siblings. Ram Lal Nikhanj settled in Chandigarh and dabbled in building and timber business. Kapil Dev is married to Romi Bhatia and the couple has a daughter named Amiya Dev.

Kapil's association with the Haryana team has been long and rewarding. His debut match was the Ranji Trophy, in which he played for the Haryana cricket team against Punjab. This earned him the nickname The Haryana Hurricane, as he used to represent the Haryana cricket team. 'Kapil Express' and 'Iron Man of Cricket' are a few of the titles he has collected during his illustrious career. 

Kapil Dev played his first competitive game of cricket at the age of 13. In Chandigarh, he used to be a regular spectator to watch the inter-sector matches. During one of these matches, Kapil Dev who had gone to watch the match was taken in as a replacement. The young Kapil Dev impressed them with his attitude and talent and became a regular member of the side. His family, noticing his passion for the game, encouraged him to take up the game seriously. At age 14, Kapil started playing for his school. He was coached by Desh Prem Azad, a well known cricket coach in Chandigarh. At the age of 15, Kapil Dev was invited to attend a coaching camp in Bombay. 

Career Highlights

Kapil Dev was the greatest pace bowler India has produced. He was India's greatest fast-bowling all-rounder. He made his first class debut in 1975 at the age of 17. He played for his home state Haryana against neighbouring state of Punjab. He made his Test and ODI debut against Pakistan in 1978. 

In 1994, he became the highest Test wicket-taker (434wkts) in the world, breaking the record held by Sir Richard Hadlee of New Zealand. Kapil's record was broken by Courtney Walsh of West Indies in 1999. (Currently this record is held by Sri Lankan Muttaiah Muralitharan). 

Kapil became the first in the world to achieve the all-rounder's double of 4,000 Test runs and 400 Test wickets. He held the record for the most number of One-day wickets for quite a long time till Wasim Akram took over. Captaining India to win the World Cup in 1983, was the highlight of his illustrious career. 

Kapil Dev has written three autobiographical works. By God's Decree (1985), Cricket my style (1987). He released his most recent autobiography, titled Straight from the Heart in 2004. 

Post retirement 

The Army chief, Gen. Deepak Kapoor decorates Kapil Dev after the latter joined the Territorial Army.

After his retirement from Cricket in 1994, he concentrated on improving his golf. He became the coach of the Indian Cricket team in 1999 succeeding Anshuman Gaekwad. However, he resigned from the post in 2000. Kapil Dev was named the Chairman of the Indian cricket League (ICL) run by the Zee Group. ICL was a parallel cricket League to BCCI. 

He also owns the The Kaptain's Retreat Hotel in Chandigarh. It has a large restaurant named, 'Elevens'. In September 2008, Kapil Dev was conferred with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel after he voluntarily joined the Territorial Army* 


Awards and Endorsements 

He has received the Arjuna Award, Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan from the Government of India. He was named the Wisden* Cricketer of the Year (1983) and Wisden Indian Cricketer of the Century in 2002. 

Kapil Dev has endorsed many products. He has been a brand ambassador for Palmolive, BSA-SLR bicycles, Hajmola, Crocin Pain Relief, Boost, Standard Chartered, Rado (Swiss manufacturer of watches), Haier, among others.

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