Back on his feet playing golf, Kapil lauds Indian pace battery


India’s World Cup winning former captain Kapil Dev is back playing golf after recovering from a cardiac surgery that he underwent in October 2020.

The 1983 World Cup-winner, who had held the world record for most Test wickets at one point in time, has been watching cricket only occasionally these days. However, he is excited to see the depth in Indian fast bowling reserves and has advice for “great talent” Hardik Pandya.

“It is great. I never expected 20-30 years back that we can have so many fast bowlers, and a fast bowler who can be the top bowler of the world. You can say they are some of the best in the world — (Jasprit) Bumrah, (Mohammed) Shami and Bhuvneshwar (Kumar). I think it is great,” Kapil, 62, told IANS as he played nine holes at Delhi Golf Club to raise funds for surgeries of poor children with congenital heart defects.

“When I started playing cricket, a fast bowler was a novelty. Now we have so many. If three of our fast bowlers are not playing, then the next three can take their place and win the match for the team,” he added.

Ever since Kapil retired back in 1994, India have been searching for a fast bowling all-rounder. The search is yet to bear fruit and India are currently pinning hopes on Pandya to become that pace bowling all-rounder who can have a long international career.

Current India captain Virat Kohli said recently that Pandya’s workload needs to be managed well ahead of their long tour of England that will see India play the World Test Championship final against New Zealand apart from playing five Test matches against the hosts.

Kapil felt that Pandya, who has been battling with back injury and hasn’t bowled much of late, still has a long way to go before proving himself.

“I think he has to go a long way. He is a great talent and a very good cricketer. He has to work on his fitness,” said Kapil.

Kapil said he doesn’t watch much cricket these days and hasn’t followed India’s recent exploits very closely to be able to comment on them.

“The only time I watch cricket closely and analytically is when I have to talk about it on television and news channels. Otherwise, I just see it as anybody watching cricket. I don’t put my mind into it. I just enjoy the game,” he said.

Kapil, who along with Pakistan’s Imran Khan, New Zealand’s Richard Hadley and England’s Ian Botham formed a legendary quartet of all-rounders in 1970s, 80s and early 90s, played 131 Test matches and 225 ODIs and said he is feeling okay after recovery. He added that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is proving to be a learning experience.

“Great, very good. God is kind. I am kicking around. It (Covid-19 pandemic) is not tough. It is a positive thing. It is something in this world that nobody ever experienced. It is not bad. It is a learning,” said Kapil.