Kapil Dev opens up about his journey as India captain; learning a lot from Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev for India | Getty

Legendary Indian all-rounder Kapil Dev shared his experiences of captaining the national team and also revealed that he once thought he didn’t deserve to be India’s captain when he was given the job.

He also recalled an incident from his glorious career when he was removed as a captain in 1984 for a match at the Eden Gardens after he played a reckless shot in the previous game.

The legend also mentioned that a captain must have a committed team, as they will never let the leader down and lauded Sunil Gavaskar for having that inspirational quality in him.

Kapil was given the captaincy of the Indian cricket team at a very young age of 23 and the following year, he won the first World Cup for the country in 1983.

Speaking at CRED’s latest series ‘The Long Game’, Dev said: “When they made me captain, I don’t think I deserved it and when they removed me as captain, I told myself I must have not done something good. But one thing I know about captaincy is – when we win it is never ‘I won’ but when we lose, the captain has to take responsibility. What you need however as a captain most is the commitment from the team. Talented people can still let you down but people who are committed will never let you down.”

He further recalled his leadership stint: “I was very young. I had so many senior and remarkably talented cricketers with me and my job was to take them along. I could not tell Sunil Gavaskar, Mohinder Amarnath, Madan Lal, (Syed) Kirmani how to do their job.

I had to make sure I kept them together and I always said one thing – once you enter the cricket ground nobody is better than you. Respect the opponent as much as you can before the match or after the match and when you are on the field, nobody is better than you.”

Kapil also lauded Gavaskar’s commitment towards the game and revealed his learnings from another legend.

He signed off by saying, “Sunil Gavaskar was so committed to his work which was inspirational. Sometimes you learn from your colleagues. Once he said you can’t make a hundred in one over so you have to keep small targets. You should have a target of 15 runs, 40 runs, 60 runs, 80 runs, and then you can reach a 100. Don’t put pressure on yourself straight away to reach a 100.”