Kapil Dev is a former Indian Cricketer. He has also served as India’s National Coach from 1999 to 2000. He captained India during the 1983 World Cup and lifted the trophy for the first time. In 2002, he was named as the Indian Cricketer of the Century by Wisden. He is considered one of the best all-rounders to have played the game ever. In 2010, he was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.
Kapil Dev Nikhanj was born on 6 January 1959 (Age: 60 years, as in 2019) in Chandigarh, India. His father, Ram Lal Nikhanj was from Dipalpur, Pakistan and his mother, Raj Kumari was born in Pakpattan, Pakistan. His four sisters were also born in Pakistan. At the time of the partition of India, his family moved to India and settled in Fazilka, Punjab. After being settled in India, he and his two brothers were born. His father was a famous timber merchant. Later, his family moved to Chandigarh and Dev received his education from D.A.V school and joined cricketer, Desh Prem Azad to receive the classes of cricket.
- Height: 6′
- Weight: 80 kg
- Eye Colour: Dark Brown
- Hair Colour: Salt & Pepper
He was born into a Jat Family to Ram Lal Nikhanj and Raj Kumari Lajwanti.
He has two brothers; Ramesh (younger; lives in sector-9, Chandigarh), Bhushan (elder; lives in sector-27, Chandigarh) and four sisters; Pinky Gill and 3 others.
He married Romi Bhatia, an entrepreneur, in 1980 and the couple has a daughter, Amiya Dev (born in 1996).
He made his domestic cricket debut for Haryana against Punjab. In his debut match, he took 6 wickets and restricted Punjab to just 63 runs. During 1977-78 domestic season, he took his first 10-wicket haul. On 16 October 1978, he made his International Test Cricket debut against Pakistan in Faisalabad. Although his performance was unimpressive, he startled the Pakistani batsman with his pace and bouncers.
In the third Test Match of the same tour, he scored the fastest Test half-century off just 33 balls. On 1 October 1978, Dev made his ODI debut against Pakistan, however, his ODI performance was not very good in initial years. In January 1979, Dev scored his maiden Test century 126 runs off just 124 balls against West Indies in Delhi.
He established himself as India’s first fast bowler after taking two 5-wicket hauls and ended a home series with 28 wickets against Australia. When Pakistan toured India in 1979, he became famous with his performance. He helped India win two test matches; scoring 69 runs in Wankhede Mumbai and in the fifth test match, he took his first 10-wicket haul. During the series, Dev became the youngest cricketer having taken 100 test wickets and 1000 runs in 25 matches. When India toured Australia in 1980-81, Dev was injured due to the groin injury before the third test match. He was supposed to take a rest but he willed to play and inducted into the team and startled Australian with his bowling 28/5. India won that match and drew series at 1-1.
Before the World Cup 1982, India toured England where Dev performed extremely well; scoring a century 130 runs and a five-wicket haul in a losing cause. He finished 3 match series with 292 runs and a 10-wicket haul and won the Man of the series award. The same year, India lost to Pakistan, however, Dev and Mohinder Amarnath performed very well.
Captaincy and World Cup 1983
Before the World Cup 1983, Kapil Dev was made India’s captain replacing Sunil Gavaskar during the tour of West Indies 1982. However, during the whole tour, India could secure only one victory in ODI. Throughout the world cup, India lost only two matches; one to Australia and another to West Indies. In a match against Zimbabwe, he saved India by scoring 175 runs off just 138 balls. This century came when the top-order batsmen of India did nothing. Together with Kirmani, he put a 126 runs partnership that was unbroken for the next 27 years. He was selected Man of the Match.
In Semi-final, India beat England by six wickets and faced West Indies in final. In the final match, India got all-out at 183 runs and Dev scored only 15 runs and took only one wicket, but due to the good bowling performance of Madan Lal and Mohinder Amarnath, India restricted West Indies at 140 runs and won its first World Cup. During the 8 matches of World Cup, he scored 303 runs and took 12 wickets.
After World Cup, West Indies toured India, it defeated India a 6 match Test series by 3-0 and won the ODI series by 5-0. India could not achieve a single victory. Under his captaincy, Team India reached semi-final at the 1987 World Cup but lost to England before reaching final. In 1994, he retired from Cricket.
- In 1994, he became the highest wicket-taker in the world breaking the record of Sir Richard Hadlee. His record was broken by Courtney Walsh of West Indies in 1999.
- The only player to achieve the all-rounder’s double of 4000 test runs and 400 wickets.
- The highest number of innings in a career (184) without being run out.
- The youngest cricketer to take 100, 200 and 300 test wickets.
- The only captain to take a 9 wicket haul in a test inning.
- Highest wicket taker (253 wickets) until his retirement in 1994
- Highest ODI score while batting at number 6 (Against Zimbabwe 1983 World Cup)
- In 1994, at the height of match-fixing controversies, the former BCCI President, I.S. Bindra alleged that Kapil Dev had offered money to Manoj Prabhakar to under-perform during the 1994 India tour of Sri Lanka. However, the allegation was dismissed later.
- In 2016, Kapil Dev and his wife, Romi Bhatia came under the radar of the Income Tax Department when he and his wife purchased the shares of a company at a discounted price. The Income Tax department issued the notice and asked the concerned officer to seek an explanation from Kapil Dev and his family. IndiaToday
- Arjun Award (1979)
- Padma Shri (1982)
- Wisden Cricketer of the Year (1983)
- Padma Bhushan (1991)
- Wisden Indian Cricketer of Century (2002)
- ICC Cricket Hall of Fame (2010)
- Cricketer(s): Ian Botham, Don Bradman, Imran Khan, Richard Hadlee
- Food(s): Cheese, Thai and Italian Cuisines
Four-door Porsche Panamera sedan, C-Class Mercedes (HR 26 DA 1983), Mercedes GLS 350 d (HR 26 DB 1983), Toyota Fortuner (DL 8 CAF 1983)
- Elevens – The Kaptains Retreat restaurant in Sector-35, Chandigarh, India
- Elevens – The Kaptains Retreat restaurant at Fraser Road in Patna, Bihar, India
- 5% stake in Zicom Electronics
- Dev Musco Lighting Pvt Limited in partnership with Musco Lighting to install floodlights in sports venues in India
- SAMCO Ventures; holding company for SAMCO Securities
- He likes to drink alcohol.
- Former sports in charge of DAV School (from where Dev received his primary education), V. P. Paul once said-
“He would listen to the commentary endlessly during school hours also. Kapil was a triple jumper and even won medals at the junior level in school.”
- Until the age of 13, he did not play cricket.
- He accidentally got into cricket. When the sector 16 team was one player short, Dev was selected. His elder brother, Bhushan Nikhanj encouraged him a lot after being selected.
- Recalling the first meeting with Kapil Dev, his coach, Desh Prem Azad, had said,
I had rejected Kapil at the first instance on his looks.”
- During the 1960s and 1970s, there would be matches between Pal Club and King Crown Club of Chandigarh. Kapil Dev used to play these matches. At that time, there was a trend that losers treated winners to Channa-Puri at a popular restaurant at sector 27 in Chandigarh. The Sunday Tribune
- On the advice of Sunil Gavaskar, Dev modified his bowling action and started bowling from closer to the stumps to make his pace and outswing more dangerous for the batsman.
- It was Sunil Bhatia, his friend, who introduced him to Romi Bhatia, his future wife.
- In a match against West Indies in 1979, Romi Bhatia was invited by Kapil Dev to watch the match. In that match, Dev completed his first century by hitting a six.
- In 1980, Dev proposed to Romi Bhatia in a local train in Mumbai.
- During the 1980s, Kapil Dev, Ian Botham, Imran Khan, and Sir Richard Hadlee competed for being the best all-rounder in the world.
- Dev’s first Ranji captain, Dr. Ravinder Chadha once narrated an incident- It was Haryana Vs Punjab in the 1981 or 1982 when Rajinder Ghai got Kapil Dev out but Umpire rejected the appeal and Dev went on to score 193. At the end of the day, Ghai asked Umpire why did he do wrong umpiring. The umpire replied,
Sabhi Log Kapil Ko Dekhne Aiyee Hain, Tumhe Nahin.”
- In his long career of 184 innings, he never got run-out.
- His favourite shots were Hook and Drive. His favourite bowling deliveries were inswing and outswing yorker.
- Apart from playing cricket for India and Haryana State team, he had also played County Cricket in England for Northamptonshire and Worcestershire.
- Dev was also good at playing football. In the 1980s, he played a football match with Shah Rukh Khan, who was then the captain of his college’s football team.
- During the 1983 Cricket World Cup Final, Kapil caught Sir Viv Richards at mid-wicket which was a turning point of the match.
- Around 1985, he launched ‘Dev Features,’ a syndicated agency, however, he could not get success in business and after initial failures in business, Kapil said, “I bought an office of my own (in Delhi’s central Bengali Market area) after having worked from my home. The business grew and I took the decision to venture into something more.”
- After winning the world cup, he became the first choice for TV commercials. His Palmolive Shaving Cream’s advertisement got very popular.
- Throughout his career, he never missed a Test match on the grounds of injury and fitness.
- After retirement in 1994, he took up golf and was only Asian founding member of Laureus Foundation.
- In 1994, he founded ‘Dev Musco’ and got into a floodlighting business. The idea of founding such business came to his mind when he went to the United States where he came across floodlit grounds of schools and colleges. On this business, he said,
It was an eye opener really. Kids playing under floodlights. It was fascinating. It made me dream of setting up a similar infrastructure.”
- Later, his company Dev Musco went onto providing floodlights at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali and also provided floodlights in football, hockey, and golf.
- In 2008, he was honoured as the Lieutenant Colonel by the Indian Territorial Army.
- In May 2017, he unveiled his wax statue at Madame Tussauds Museum, New Delhi, India.
- He has appeared in several Bollywood films in cameo roles including “Dillagi… Yeh Dillagi”, “Iqbal,” “Chain Khuli Ki Main Khuli,” and “Mujhse Shadi Karogi.”
- Dev has written 3 autobiographies: “By God’s Decree” (1985), “Cricket My Style” (1987), and “Straight From The Heart” (2004).
- He has a good friendship with a cricketer-turned-politician, Imran Khan of Pakistan. When Imran Khan became the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Kapil Dev was invited for the swearing-in ceremony but he declined the invitation.
- Director Kabir Khan has made a biopic on Kapil Dev’s life titled ’83’ in which actor Ranveer Singh has played the lead role. Deepika Padukone has played the role of Kapil Dev’s wife, Romi Bhatia.