Kapil Dev

For many years, Indian cricket appealed to the romantics among cricket-watchers, those who liked the fine and delicate things in the game. They had plenty of wristy, elegant batsmen and an abun- dance of twirling, teasing spin bowlers. But there was not a fast bowler in sight worthy of the description. Kapil Dev was like a visitor from another planet when he appeared on the Indian scene in such spectacular style, taking vast col- lections of wickets for his state, Haryana. He quickly made he mark in Test cricket, too, and in the past 14 years he has been a model of consistency despite having to shoulder an enormous work- load as the only genuine strike bowler in the Indian side. His bowling has about it and impression of bounce and vibrancy. He may sometimes walk back to his mark slower than spectators would like but when he turns, head suddenly raised as if from prayer, he gallops lightly in to the crease, where a final leap is followed by a model delivery. His left arm is high, his body classically sideways on. Through such textbook perfection Kapil is able to swing the ball liberally, his outswinger causing par- ticular problems over the years. At a sturdy 6 feet 3 inches he is capable of deceptive pace off the pitch, often surprising batsmen with steep bounce.

("The Wisden Book of Cricket Heroes: Bowlers", by Alan Lee)

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