Only one man in the entire history of Test cricket has reached the exemplary heights of 4000 runs and 400 wickets, the “Quadruple Double”, and sits alone atop the all-rounder’s Mount Everest. That one man is none other than Kapil Dev, India’s most prolific all-rounder.
Kapil Dev Ramlal Nikhanj (born 6 January 1959, Chandigarh), better known as Kapil Dev, is a former Indian cricketer regarded as one of the greatest all-rounders to have played cricket. Kapil Dev was named by Wisden as the Indian Cricketer of the Century in 2002 for captaining India to their maiden and only Cricket World Cup in 1983 and holding the record for the most Test match wickets between 1994 and 1999. Kapil Dev also was India’s national cricket coach for 10 months between October 1999 and August 2000.
Kapil 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. He also developed a fine inswinging yorker during the 1980s which he used very effectively against tail-enders. As a batsman he was a natural striker of the ball who could hook and drive effectively. A naturally aggressive player, he often helped India in difficult situations by taking the attack to the opposition. His nickname was The Haryana Hurricane — he used to represent the Haryana cricket team.
How valuable was Kapil as an all-rounder to the Indian cricket team?
Well, he graced the Indian cricket both as a high-class batsman and a genuine strike bowler. In the entire history of Test cricket only one all-rounder has found a place in both the lists of all-time top 10 wicket takers and top 10 run scorers for his country, and that’s Kapil Dev.
His contribution to Indian cricket is so immense that it was but natural that Wisden would pick him as the Indian cricketer of the century. He was indeed India’s one-man army in the truest sense in his heydays.
But statistics can never do justice to the charisma, the panache, and the sheer brilliance of Kapil Dev. He was not a creature of statistics, though he holds many Indian and World records. What really made Kapil Dev unique was his uncomplicated approach to the game whether batting, bowling, fielding or captaining. The secret was that he blended this approach with immense determination, pride and courage. This combination endeared him to the cricket-mad Indian crowds and made him the first true superstar of Indian cricket.