Lot to be told from this disaster: Kapil


Lockdown — a word that needs to be drilled into the minds of citizens. “A word,” as former India captain and one of the game’s greatest all-rounders Kapil Dev observes, “that has become the lifeline for mankind. You are supposed to stay at home, so stay at home! It is the least one can do to help the competent and relevant authorities to fight this life-threatening virus.”

Positive attitude

As Kapil elaborates: “It can be taken in a positive way. Lockdown or Stay at Home. You have to challenge yourself to accept this situation. You have the world inside your home — your family. You have means of entertaining yourself — books, TV, music. Best of all is the interaction you have with your family.”

Personal tasks

To stay focused, Kapil has taken up various tasks inside the house. “I sweep the house, clean the garden. My little garden is my golf course. I am getting to spend so much time with my family. Something that I had missed in the last several years. I give the cook a break. I cook for everyone. I take turns to do the dishes. I learnt all this when playing in England and Romi joined me.”

Being a sportsman has helped him face tough situations with equanimity, Kapil says. “I always believe in being positive. In cricket you get out for zero after scoring a century in the preceding innings. You end up wicketless after having done your best in previous spells. I have read and heard how the human race has fought and set examples when dealing with crises. India’s strength lies in our culture — looking after each other and caring for elders. We have to look to help the seniors. I know we will win this battle by staying together and strengthening the hands of our government and doctors by staying indoors.”

This tough phase, believes Kapil, will make people more responsible. “People will remember the lessons in hygiene now. They will learn to wash their hands and not to spit and urinate in public. We have to keep our surroundings clean. Wish we had learnt these lessons earlier, but hope this generation will not make those mistakes. I was lucky I could learn from my seniors and am thankful to them.”

Kapil picked Bishan Singh Bedi and Sunil Gavaskar for special mention. “Bedi taught me the joy and importance of being large-hearted. Life becomes simple when you are large-hearted. Sunil taught me to plan. He would keep planning.

“Even when he was batting against me, he was sporting enough to advise me. He told me to bowl from close to the wicket because he found it difficult to pick my out-swinger. What a lesson I learnt from the artist. Also, my generation of cricketers did not criticise youngsters,” he says.

Masters of the game

Reflecting on colleagues from his playing days, Kapil talked of how some of them would have been superstars in current times too. “Sunil would have been a sought-after batsman in T20. Srikkanth started T20 in 1985 when he was smashing Imran Khan and Wasim Akram over cover and mid-off. We used to wonder ‘what is this guy doing’. Yashpal, with his bottom-hand shots over midwicket would have been a hit. He could hit from cover to midwicket with such ease.

“Take Sidhu (Navjot Singh). Belter of the ball. Once, in the nets, he hit the ball in the air and Bedi ordered him to run six for that shot. Madan Lal had the game for T20s. Bowlers like Bedi and Venktaraghavan would have shackled batsmen. Prasanna would have beaten the batsmen with his art in the air. I have not forgotten (Gundappa) Viswanath. He would have made a mockery of the field by picking gaps with ridiculous ease. I could go on and on,” he says.

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