Former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar has been lucky enough to play with some of the greatest players to have played for India. Gavaskar, who himself is one of the finest batsmen in the history of the game, has also seen some of Indian cricket’s biggest names after his retirement. However, the legendary batsman rates his former teammate Kapil Dev as the the greatest Indian cricketer ever.
Gavaskar hailed Kapil Dev as the best player to have played for India because of his ability to change matches with both bat and ball. Kapil Dev was captain when India lifted the World Cup in 1983 at Lord’s. Kapil Dev is regarded as the best allrounder to have played for the country and is the parameter of comparison whenever a new allrounder emerges on the scene.
“Kapil was the first real athlete in Indian cricket. He plays good squash, snooker and golf. He is the first athlete who would have been good at any field. From there, the Indian team also started to look at all-rounders,” Sunil Gavaskar told India Today.
“Kapil changed the whole outlook. That is the reason I call him the greatest Indian cricketer ever. He could change matches India with bat or ball, Gavaskar said at Salaam Cricket 2019,” he added.
Kapil Dev represent India in 131 Test matches over a career spanning 16 years, in which time he took a total of 434 wickets at an average of 29.64. His 434 wickets featured 23 five wicket-hauls. With the bat, he went on to to score 5248 runs in Tests, at an average of 31.05, including 8 hundreds and 27 fifties.
In one day internationals as well, Kapil Dev amassed 3783 runs from 225 matches at an average of 23.79, including one hundred and 14 half-centuries. He also took a total of 253 wickets at an average of 27.45 and one five-wicket haul.