‘I still can’t believe it’: Former Indian cricketer Kapil Dev

The coveted title came to the team after defeating the mighty West Indies.
‘I still can’t believe it’: Former Indian cricketer Kapil Dev

BENGALURU:  On June 25, 1983, the Indian cricket team won their first World Cup Trophy and became an important part of the history of Indian sport. It’s been 40 years since that day, and people continue to be emotional about the moment. Former Indian cricketer and then captain, Kapil Dev, who led the victorious team, recalls that day as a surreal one. “We still pinch ourselves. We had never imagined we would get so much love,” says Kapil, who is still remembered for his 175 not out against Zimbabwe during the match in Tunbridge Wells.

The coveted title came to the team after defeating the mighty West Indies. However, this time two-time champion West Indies failed to qualify for the 2023 ODI World Cup and for Kapil, it is equally shocking as it is for the world. “I still can’t believe it. People were so scared of the West Indies. 40 years down, they have not qualified. In my mind, I didn’t imagine I would see a day like this,” says an absolutely shocked Kapil. 

After retiring from cricket, if any other sport got Kapil’s attention, it was golf. So it was not surprising when Kapil visited the city to launch the Callaway Performance Centre at the Karnataka Golf Association. “The moment I stopped playing cricket, I started playing golf. I never imagined I would love some other sport so much. The only thing is if you think cricketers speak about cricket, then golfers are even worse. They play for four hours and talk about it for eight. That is the beauty of the game,” explains Kapil. 

Golf has also helped him retain the competitiveness of a sportsperson. “Today, I lost Rs 500 to these amazing players in the city. But sometimes playing for Rs 500 is more thrilling than anything else. It’s not betting, it’s a thrill that you don’t want to lose and the zest you need to have to achieve something,” says Kapil. 

Not just cricket or golf, there has been a change in the approach of people towards sport in general where many children are picking it up as a career. “That’s the best part. In the past, we were producing only doctors and engineers. Now, children want to play sport, and parents are supporting that. My only request to parents is to not get involved too much. Give them space to play, your job is to take care of them. Sit back and let them learn and let the coaches do the job,” he says.

Kapil himself was lucky to have been exposed to cricket quite young in his life. He recalls coming to Bengaluru when he was only 10 years old, which was his first visit to the city. “I remember staying close to MG Road. Those were the best parts of playing cricket and enjoying our time. I come from Chandigarh, which has a similar feel – the only difference being the weather,” he says.

High expectations 
Ahead of the ICC World Cup 2023, scheduled to take place in India in October-November, Kapil Dev says it is important for the team to handle the pressure of high expectations. “India will enter the tournament as a favourite, it has always been the case. It depends on how the team deals with the expectations of fans. They are yet to announce the final team of players for India but I hope they are fully prepared,” says the former skipper.

40 years after India lifted the first World Cup trophy, cricket legend Kapil Dev –  who was in Bengaluru on Tuesday – still pinches himself in disbelief as much as he does about West Indies not qualifying for the upcoming 2023 ODI World Cup

Related Stories

No stories found.

The New Indian Express