Kapil Dev: Spotlight on Youth, February 1975

Young Kapil Dev is the most promising cricketer in recent years. The bits of success enjoyed by medium-pacers Madan Lal and Karsan Ghavri in this season’s Test have underlined the importance of having a balanced attack and not just packing it with spin, as has often been the case in recent years. While Ghavri and Madan Lal should have several years of Test cricket in front of them, the search for more of their type must go on. Already, Bengal’s Barun Burman has been hailed as a promising discovery.
Not far behind him, in potential, is 15-year-old Kapil Dev from Chandigarh, who has been having a good season in school cricket. A big thing for Kapil Dev was mentioned by Cricket Board vice-president R P. Mehra in an Indian newsreel interview recently (though the official was guilty of exaggeration when he placed the height of the lad at six-four when in fact he just touches six). Kapil Dev did not play as big a role as he should have in North Zone’s triumph in the inaugural Nayudu Trophy tournament for, under-22s at Bombay last month.
Kapil Dev was nursing a leg injury sustained during a motorcycle accident., Even then, he was able to get enough lift from the easy-paced Wankhede Stadium wicket to force the batsmen onto their backfoot. What made him take up quick bowling? “When I began playing cricket in school, the sight of the glossy ball made me want to use it.” And the sight of Dev bowling was enough for school coach Desh Prem Azad, a former Southern Punjab Ranji Trophy bowler, to take the boy in hand for special treatment.
The coach thinks Dev needs to improve his follow-through, which he tends to do. check right now. Dev grips the ball loosely, has a controlled away-swinger, and occasionally gets the ball to cut in. He says his coach has already taught him how to conserve energy, when to go all out, how and when to make the batsmen play forward or back, and importantly, how to read the wicket. And a plus point in his favor is that he has already worked out his run-up and action, which is smooth and not very long—about 15-20 yards.
But a minus point for him is that wickets back home in Chandigarh are not conducive to fast bowling. In fact, in the North Zone, the only place where he has found some response is Kurukshetra. Our elusive fast bowler will, and we keep hoping that he comes from the north! Dev enjoyed the bowling experience at Calcutta last season, but such chances will be few and far between.
Kapil Dev: Spotlight on Youth February 1975
Kapil Dev: Spotlight on Youth, February 1975