Widely regarded amongst the four golden all-rounders of cricket during the 70s and 80s, Kapil Dev and Imran Khan played lots of cricket against each other and created many records for India and Pakistan respectively.
Imran Khan and his political party Tehreek-e-Insaaf has emerged as the largest single party in the general elections in Pakistan and with the help of other smaller parties, Imran Khan is set to become the next Prime Minister of Pakistan.
His contemporary Kapil Dev recently gave his views on Imran Khan to theprint.in.
Kapil said that Imran is passionate and the ideal person to bring cricket back in the troubled nation of Pakistan. “Playing in Pakistan is very different. They are aggressive…emotional, ruthless and very gutsy. Ready to fight. That is their character. When you play with them over a period of time, you realise that,” he said.
Kapil Dev, who picked 434 Test wickets, made Test his debut in Faisalabad in 1978. He said cricket must return to Pakistan, and Khan is the one who can make it possible.
“They can play in Dubai, they can play in Timbuktu also… it doesn’t matter. But the people of Pakistan must get the opportunity to see them play. Dubai is not their country. I hope under Imran Khan things become better. The way he looked after his team… if he can do that with his country, it will be wonderful,” he said.
Kapil even compared Imran to Indian PM Narendra Modi. He said, “He has that craziness, that passion, that obsessiveness (Junoon), which should be there. Everyone says that’s necessary to be a leader, and I agree. That’s something Imran has, that’s something (Narendra) Modi sahib has.”
“We were playing in Lahore, I said I wanted to go. Pakpattan was my mother’s village; Shayakka my father’s. It is an army area. They took me… They were very hospitable. They didn’t realise who I was. Then the village came to know ‘this is the boy’. They were very happy to see me. We spoke Punjabi with each other…Didn’t matter I was Hindu and they were Muslim,” he said about visiting Sahiwal, the native village of his parents.
“We had a wonderful time. I was 18 years old, I was so passionate about the game, I didn’t know who the prime minister of the country was. All I wanted was to play, play, play. Wasn’t like today’s world with the media, mobiles etc…Oh yes, the stadiums were full,” he talked about his debut in Pakistan in 1978.
“All the royals etc. who played cricket spoke English. If you spoke Hindi, you may not have been selected, even if you were good. Never ever (did the) team meeting take place in Hindi. When I came in, (that was the) first time it took place in Hindi. Earlier, it was always in English, and half the team-members did not understand English. It was very difficult,” he recalled about cricket in India in the early days.
“When we came, we were more Hindi-based people and we started talking in Hindi. But the cricket was played in English. Cricket is an English game, played in English. So it was very difficult to break that barrier,” Kapil added.
(with inputs from theprint.in)