For Kapil Dev, his coach in Chandigarh, Desh Prem Azad, was the “world.” He shaped his cricket. But Rajkumari Lajwanti, his doting mother, shaped his life. It was a “wonderful” relationship as the mother stood by her son’s resolve to become a fast bowler. There was resistance from his father who wanted Kapil to concentrate on his studies. But Kapil had set his eyes on the India cap. He had seen a poster of G. R. Viswanath and just wanted to play for India. The biggest support came from his mother, who stood by him like a rock.
Ensuring her Kuckoo received a healthy diet, Kapil’s mother also encouraged the boy to give his best on the field. “Kuckoo, you are a growing boy. You want to be a fast bowler,” she would repeatedly remind him as Kapil remembers in his autobiography, Straight From the Heart .
Kapil talks fondly of his mother’s contribution, like the time when he was to leave for Bombay for a camp and she supported his demand for some pocket money. “Eat properly, beta . Don’t you ever move out alone. It’s a very big city,” she implored. Kapil did not forget and returned to Chandigarh with a burning desire to play for India. Within three years, he had accomplished his dream.
“Ma was precious to us all. I would look forward to her affection and guidance. She was the greatest cook on Earth and I have fond memories of how she would serve me hot and fresh food. She was the strength behind my rise as a teenager who wanted to bowl fast for India.”
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