During the Test match series against Pakistan in 1982-83, he demolished Abdul Qadir’s leg spin, which the English and Australian batsmen had great difficulty in reading earlier in the same year.
He was also fearless in attacking the world’s best fast-bowlers. During a World Cup match against the West Indies in 1983, he drove Michael Holding straight over his head for a six, a shot that would have been considered unimaginable by most against a bowler of Holding’s pace.
In a match on route to the World Cup final of 1983, Kapil smashed a captain’s knock of 175 not out against Zimbabwe helping India recover from an extremely poor start. India had collapsed to 9/4 when Kapil came in to bat, and were reduced further to 17/5. His 175 not out turned the game completely in India’s favour and was at the time the highest-ever individual score in ODI cricket. It was also the first ODI century by an Indian. Surprisingly, it was also Kapil’s only ODI hundred.
Another memorable incident relates to a Test match against England in 1990. When India needed 24 runs to save the follow-on with only one wicket remaining, Kapil met that target by hitting four consecutive sixes off Eddie Hemmings. This proved to be the right decision, as in the next over itself, the number 11 batsman Narendra Hirwani was dismissed with no further addition to the score.
A further example of his competitive spirit was during a match against West Indies at Sharjah in November 1986, when he tried to cajole Viv Richards into bowling the last over of the match with India needing 36 runs to win. Unsurprisingly, Richards did not give in to his request.
Kapil’s batting talent and competitive spirit were evident until as late as 1992, when during a Test match against South Africa, he counter-attacked Allan Donald and the rest of the South African pace attack on his way to his final Test century, an outstanding 129 out of a total of 215. The next highest score was only 17 and none of the top six batsmen got into double figures.