HT NxT: 'When you become a 4-over bowler, it gets difficult' – Kapil Dev on how Indian cricketers can 'reduce injuries'
Besides being India's finest all-rounder and the country's first cricket World Cup winning captain, the legendary Kapil Dev was one of the fittest cricketers of his time. Kapil's career spanned 16 years, which was pretty unheard of for a bowling all-rounder back in the day. Which is why when Kapil Dev talks about the importance of fitness in modern-day cricket, one should listen carefully. In a conversation with veteran sports journalist Ayaz Memon on Day 1 of Hindustan Times' virtual HT NxT, Kapil explained how given the amount of cricket played, the key is to remain fit, something which he believes can be achieved only if athletes pay attention to the process of muscle building.
"Today's cricketers... their thinking is totally different. If I have to tell something to the young cricketers, go and do running as much as you can. Your muscles will develop. And bowl as much as you can in the nets or in the matches. When you become a four-over bowler, then it becomes very difficult." Kapil said.
Of the 131 Tests he represented India in, Kapil played 66 in a row. He missed just one Test for his country, and that was due to reasons other than fitness. A trivia such as this is a stark comparison to today, when cricketers tend to pick up injuries owing to the nature of the sport.
Recently, prior to the start of the India vs England Test series, the Indian trio of Shubman Gill, Avesh Khan and Washington Sundar had its tour cut short due to respective injuries. Kapil reckons one way to reduce picking up injuries is to practice more in the nets than spending time training in gyms.
"Injuries are going to take place. But if your muscles are developed when you are bowling a lot of overs in the nets, that is important. I know today's cricketers spend a lot of time in the gym. But gyms should be the option when there is either rain or some special muscle you want to improve. There can't be a better thing than being on the ground running. That's how you can reduce the risk of injuries," Kapil said.