Kapil Dev was on Tuesday inducted in the Legends Club cricket ‘Hall of Fame’ and presented with a citation by former India opener and Legends Club president Madhav Apte at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai.
Former Indian captains Sunil Gavaskar, Ajit Wadekar and Nari Contractor were also amongst those present at the event. Gavaskar, who had been inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame back in July 2013, was also presented a citation by Wadekar.
However, it was Kapil Dev, who was the star for the night. Accepting the honour, the 1983 World Cup winning captain said: “I am humbled. We always look up to Mumbai as it was where the cricket was played. I come from a small town, did know nothing about cricket. It was just the passion… trying to impress Bombay people, players and media. That is not just with me but with all cricketers.”
It was a walk down memory lane for the audience as the legends shared a number of untold stories.
“My wife is from Bombay. Things have changed suddenly since when I started. When I was about to get married, Romi’s (Kapil’s wife Romi Bhatia) grandfather asked her: ‘Ladka kya karta hai? Cricket khelta hai theek hai, par karta kya hai’ (What does the boy do? Yeah fine he plays cricket, but what does he do?). It was different in that time,” said the Haryana Hurricane, as the audience burst into laughter.
Kapil says Gavaskar is the best
Kapil Dev also lauded Sunil Gavaskar, who led India to victory in the Benson and Hedges World Championships two years after he won the Prudential World Cup at Lord’s, stating the legendary opener was best for the game.
“I was not technically correct, but we had no one to teach. In Mumbai, there were a lot of teachers. When we played cricket, there were no turf wickets in Chandigarh, what was there is passion,” he said, before adding: “There is nobody in this country who does not want to be Sunil Gavaskar. For Sunil, was he the best in the game? No, he was best for the game.”
Describing Kapil as India’s greatest match winner, Gavaskar said: “For me it was an absolute honour to have played in the same team (as Kapil). With due respect to all those wonderful players who have won matches for India over the last years, there has been nobody who has turned around with bat and ball as Kapil has. It has been hard work for him, it has not been easy. His enthusiasm is absolutely incredible. (It was) hard time for me as a captain to stop him.”
Cricket writer Devendra Prabhudesai narrated several memorable incidents involving Dev and Gavaskar.