Kapil Dev

Why India Never Produced Another Kapil Dev


A game regarded as religion in the most populous country in the world has struggled to create a genuine allrounder since the great Kapil Dev. This article will present the enigma that was Kapil Dev and why Indian Cricket never produced another Kapil Dev


Presented By: Raghunath Nair


Wisden awarded Kapil Dev “India’s cricketer of the Century”.

wisden cricketer


He was truly India’s best allrounder and India since his retirement has struggled to produce another Kapil Dev

Kapil Dev was a natural athlete with raw strength.  He was one in a million prodigy India produced, and could have been in any international team either as a pure batsman or as a specialist bowler.

Kapil Dev could win matches with his batting brilliance or single-handedly win with his bowling.

Kapil Dev was probably one of the best fielders of his time and could field in any position according to the situation of the game.

He was truly an all-round cricketer.

kapil dev the hard hitter

In the 80s, being skillful and touch games were part of the conventional batting style.  Kapil Dev came and changed the norm, his batting style was aggressive and he became one of the hardest hitters in the game.



Kapil Dev’s Influence in Indian Cricket

Traditionally, especially in the 70s, India was known as the land of spin.  Indian bowling was dominated by spinners. Spinners came into play in the first 15 minutes of a test match immaterial of overhead or pitch conditions.

The famous Indian Quartet dominated Indian cricket for a long time.

spin quartet of india

Erapalli Prasanna and Srinivas Venkataraghavan (both off spinners), Bhagwat Chandrasekhar (a leg spinner), and Bishen Singh Bedi (a left-arm spinner).

opening new ball bowler


In the late 70s when the infamous spinners were in the twilight zone of their career, Kapil Dev emerged into the cricket scene as a genuine new ball bowler who could swing the ball prodigiously even in Indian conditions.

He single-handedly carried the Indian fast-bowling attack for years. Blessed with great fitness, he played his entire career without any major injury.

During his period, Kapil Dev was amongst the leading International allrounders of his time along with greats like Imran Khan, Ian Botham, and Richard Hadlee. Fast bowling allrounders were a prized member of any international team


Kapil’s Remarkable Stats


Kapil Dev Career

kapil dev record


Career Batting

O0Format Matches Runs High Score Average Strike Rate Hundreds Fifties
Test 131 5248 163 31.1 8 27
ODI 225 3783 175* 23.8 95.1 1 14


Career Bowling

Format Matches Wickets
Test 131 434
ODI 225 253


Kapil Dev captaincy Record



Test 34 4 7 22 1
ODI 74 39 33 2



Kapil Dev World Record and Some major Achievements

  • 8 centuries in test cricket
  • His best bowling figure in an inning was 9/83.
  • He took more than eight wickets in innings thrice
  • His outswinger was the best in the world when his was in his prime.
  • One of the top fielders in the world
  • Kapil as a leader of 1983 World Cup Team did the impossible by beating the mighty Windies and securing India’s maiden World Cup Title.
  • Kapil In the World Cup scored 175 (138 balls) against Zimbabwe which stood as the highest ODI Individual score for a long time. Kapil used the infamous mongoose bat to play the record innings.
  • Kapil Dev’s score in the 1983 World Cup final was 15 and he took 1 wicket but his impressive leadership helped India win the 1983 Prudential World Cup. Kapil Dev’s age in 1983 was close to 24 years  
  • Kapil Dev broke many records as an all-rounder, like becoming the youngest to take 200 and 300 wickets.
  • He remains the only player to score 5000-plus runs and claim 400+ (434) wickets in Test cricket.
  • In 1983 he scored 574 runs and claimed 75 wickets in Tests – thereby becoming the first cricketer to pick 500+ runs and 75 wickets in Tests in a calendar year.




Kapil Dev highest Score

  • Test: 163
  • ODI: 175



Kapil Dev scored 4000+ runs and took 400+ wickets. There have been many players who scored more runs or more wickets, but not both. This made Kapil Dev the Indian Cricketer of the Century

80s all rounder

Richard Hadlee, Imran Khan, Chris Cairns and Ian Botham were the few who were even considered as genuine allrounders like Kapil Dev.

Kapil has both more runs and more wickets than everyone

In the modern era, it is only Jacques Kallis who comes remotely close to the ‘Haryana Speedster’

Kapil Dev was often the team’s best bowler and the team’s best batsman after Sunil Gavaskar

More than the runs it is the impact he created in each role.

Imran Khan was close to Kapil Dev and played a similar role for Pakistan

While a genuine Test player, Kapil was a natural in the shorter ODI format of the game.

Kapil took 253 wickets and scored 3783 runs proving that he was born to play the shorter format too

While there were slow arm spinners who could bat like Sanath Jayasuriya for Sri Lanka, the world never saw a genuine pace bowler who could also bat as effectively.


Why India Struggled to get another Kapil


While not as effective, India did produce many all-rounders in the 90s.

Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Suresh Raina, and Virendra Sehwag were part bowlers.


 form of batsman who could bowl

Irfan Pathan showed promise both with the bat and ball but his all-around skill was short-lived due to injuries that restricted the southpaw to consistently perform in both departments. Such was the pressure in India who were desperate to get another Kapil Dev.


Kapil Dev was an extremely fit and natural athlete.

supreme athlete

Kapil Dev – The Natural Athlete


Kapil Dev was good in all three skills. He was a tall and strong athlete who never missed a match due to injury. He was the most naturally gifted player produced by India.


Kapil’s natural athletic physical attributes helped him play international cricket for a long time without any breaks due to injury.

Many players who succeeded Kapil Dev, though talented, lacked longevity, were in and out of the team, and never had a permanent place in the team.

hardik pandya


Hardik Pandya is the best all-rounder India has today but he is not the fittest and often misses international games due to injury. He does not play Test Cricket and prefers to play only T20 formats.


It is evident why it is difficult to have a genuine allrounder like Kapil Dev

Kapil Dev used to run 10 rounds in his cricket ground every morning, irrespective of the cricket season. He used to do this as a ritual.

Nowadays cricketers prefer the gym and focus on either batting or bowling in the nets to avoid injuries.

Also, the heavy cricket schedule and issues arising of players made to play all 3 formats are not being addressed more seriously, especially in Indian cricket.

kapil dev

Kapil Dev played in an era where the schedules were not as packed as it is today and only 2 formats of cricket were played.

The current player’s fitness is so fragile that a bowler in most games tends to leave the field of play after bowling the mandatory 10 overs in an ODI.

Fans will remember Kapil’s fitness when he scored 175 runs in the World Cup and came to bowl too.

How many players in the current crop of players, have the physical fitness to repeat Kapil’s feat.


In India, wicket taking is hard work and have to be earned. Bits and Pieces part time bowlers are ineffective. 

To counter it, teams rely on specialist bowlers or have a specialist batsman in place of an average bowler. This is a very big reason, allrounders don’t get developed unless the player can hold his place in the team in one skillset.


Sunil Gavaskar famously said that Kapil Dev could have been a top-order batsman and had many batting records in his name if Kapil had focused more on his batting. He was still one of the better batsmen in the Indian team when he played.

Cricketers like Kapil Dev, Gary Sobers, Ian Botham, and Imran Khan were all ‘once in a lifetime’ gifted and super skilled cricketers and to produce similar-styled players in the modern era looks an impossible task for any country.



  • How many one-day wickets did Kapil Dev capture?
    • 253 Wickets


  • What was Kapil Dev Last match?
Last Test 19 March 1994 v New Zealand
Last ODI 17 October 1994 v West Indies



  • Who was named India’s cricketer of the century by Wisden
    • Kapil Dev


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