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'I achieved maximum as a bowler'
Part One: Kapil Dev on his decision to retire, the challenges he faced and his life after retirement (00:00)
November 25, 2010
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Interview: Kapil Dev
'I achieved maximum as a bowler'November 25, 2010
Sharda Ugra: We are delighted to have with us, Kapil Dev, India captain, the great allrounder. Thanks for speaking to us, Kapil. What brings you here to this western edge of India, yesterday into a village, what exactly was going on?
Kapil Dev: I think this is part and parcel of our activities we have around the world. We (the Laureus Foundation) have 85 projects going on where we look after the handicapped and all kinds of people, where we can make a difference through sports. My principal (reason was that), my own organisation asked me to come here and play this. Handicapped guys were playing cricket and they wanted me to have a whole day to spend with them and try to motivate them. I am not a big person to motivate (people). When I see the motivation they have among themselves and the way they played yesterday, (it was) amazing to see their determination and their, you know, enthusiasm towards their sport and towards their life.
SU: You were in a very extraordinary set of surroundings yesterday, it was in this village outside the city and everyone flocked to come and watch you. At the same time you say you were watching the cricketers, what did you find about them that was so exceptional?
KD: I never expected handicapped people to play so well and they were truly very good cricketers. In a sense they didn't have facilities, they didn't have anything, and still in this remote area ... out of nowhere, they came out and played wonderful cricket. On top of that they had thousands of people watching them, it was amazing. I couldn't believe it. The person who organised this game, he is handicapped in both the legs. I was amazed to see that he was bowling with the left hand and throwing with the right hand, I could not believe it. I think that this is a new era, where we have to learn from these people, and sportsmen. You know, (from someone) who has both the hands as powerful as each other. It can lift yourself to a different level all together. I think this is what I learnt and was surprised to see how they are in putting the good effort despite of all not in being in the best of conditions, still their love for the game was huge.
SU: How is it that, post retirement, you are discovering these new things about cricket? When you look back at career how easy was it to retire eventually when you did? How hard was it to move into retirement? What were the challenges that you faced?
KD: I think it's difficult for the people who haven't achieved or if you are not satisfied with your own game when you are leaving it. I think for me I have achieved the maximum as a bowler, you know you make a world record, you sit up (on top). In our own country, nobody thought that you can have a fast bowler who sets up the world record for taking maximum wickets in the history of the game. (So) you are satisfied, and for a satisfied person to walk out of the game (it) is not very difficult. If you are unsatisfied (and) still then they (the selectors) push you and throw you out of the team, even when the urge to play is still there. I think I didn't have that, I achieved the maximum and I was happy to retire at that moment because being a fast bowler, I knew my body was coming to the end. I feel playing 16-17 years of international cricket, I was mentally satisfied and it didn't take much time for me to call it a day.
SU: So what were the challenges after retirement was there anything tough to deal with?
KD: I think basically just life, because when I retired I wasn't a professional. Even though we earned a lot of money through the game we weren't professional sports people. We still had jobs and other things to maintain that type of life, so that was very very tough. I had never done business, never done anything. I was into business but not to the level where I could maintain that kind of life, so that was little tough. It just took me one year to realize that there is other side of that.
Since I started playing cricket, I knew only one thing and that is play the game. I had never seen a Test match from the outside, nor had I started meeting people who watched us and how they used to react. I never missed a Test match, so I don't know what that was like. You know, to be sitting out and watching and listening to the people. So it was very interesting, but (there was) a lot of difference in the thinking of people who watched the game with love and affection for us. Sometime we are on the field so casually, so it doesn't matter whether we lose or win, because we are playing everyday. You take it in your stride, but the spectator whom we meet, they were so much involved. That's when I started feeling … I wish I had known that, it was something that I never knew.
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