Kapil, Gavaskar regale audience at Legends Club event

After Kapil Dev was inducted into the Legends Club Hall of Fame, the Indian all-rounder joined the legendary opener Sunil Gavaskar in entertaining the audience with anecdotes.

Indian cricket legends Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar share a light moment at the Cricket Club of India in Mumbai. At a function here on Tuesday, Kapil Dev was inducted into the Legends Club Hall of Fame.   -  Vivek Bendre

Former India greats Kapil Dev and Sunil Gavaskar had the audience in splits with anecdotes laced with wit during the function to induct India’s greatest all-rounder into the Legends Club Hall of Fame here on Tuesday. Kapil’s birthday was on January 6, but he agreed to be present in the city on January 17, two days after the first India-England one-day international in Pune.

Kapil was presented the Hall of Fame Certificate with a citation that summed up his achievements on the field. He was also presented a certificate that detailed his achievements in Tests and ODIs in numbers.

  Gavaskar, who had been inducted into the Legends Club Hall of Fame in July 2013, was also presented a citation.

The citations were presented by the Legends Club president, Madhav Apte, and former India captains Nari Contractor and Ajit Wadekar.

With two of India’s cricket icons taking the centre stage, it was also time for some anecdotes. Touching upon Bombay’s cricket culture, Kapil said: “We came from non-cricketing centres. We tried to impress the Bombay people, Bombay cricketers and the Bombay media because Bombay kept the game going. Please keep it going. Anyone who was five, six or seven years older to us, we looked up to him. There is no one in this country who does not want to be a Sunil Gavaskar. Was he the best in the game? No, I would say Sunil Gavaskar was the best for the game. Many will come and go, but he will always remain at the top.

“When you play cricket, it’s not just about how good you are, but it’s all about the impact you leave on the people. That’s what he did.’’

At the outset, Kapil said: “We played with passion. To be honest, the happiness that we get when we take a catch or get a hundred, I don’t think anything else can get us. But with our success when people get happiness, we feel proud about it. Now I feel cricket has changed.’’

In a lighter vein, Kapil recalled how Gavaskar encouraged him to talk in English. “I said to Sunil in New Zealand, ‘You know my vocabulary (in English), I cannot understand, I cannot manage to talk in English’. He said ‘They will pay you money’, and I said, ‘Even then I cannot manage.’ It was very funny, but he gave me an opportunity there also and I talked.

That’s the reason I asked how much time I can talk (here) because my vocabulary will improve (as we go on).”

Kapil narrated another incident: “My first interview was with The Hindu; they are totally English. The Bombay media understands one or two Hindi words, but they ( The Hindu) don’t understand. The reporter of The Hindu came all the way from Madras to Delhi to interview me. I would say now that I was perhaps shy, or had no confidence off the field. He said he wanted to interview me, and I said to him, ‘Can I come back (after relieving myself in the toilet).

“Then I asked my friend who played with me if I can take him for a movie. He asked, ‘Kya hua?’ And I said, ‘Someone has come from Madras to interview me in English, I will show you a movie. So that was the situation.”

Gavaskar recalled an incident when he recommended Kapil Dev to Raj Singh Dungarpur for the CCI’s tour of East Africa. He said, “Within a short time he was in the Indian team for the Pakistan tour. He was a match-winner and whatever else I may have been, I was not an idiot to drop a match-winner. It was an absolute honour to have played in the same team as Kapil. With due respect to all the wonderful players who have won matches for India over the years, no one has turned the match around with the bat and ball like Kapil has. It was hard time for me as captain to stop him.’’