Kapil Dev to Kabaddi captain: ‘Play to your heart's content’

Former Indian cricket team captain Kapil Dev spoke to Kabaddi players at the Kabaddi World Cup jersey launch event in Mumbai.

Kapil Dev speaks to Kabaddi captain Anup Kumar

"When you step on the court, enjoy the game; that’s the beautiful aspect of sport,” said Kapil Dev to the Kabaddi players.   -  M. Vedhan

Thirty three years after Kapil Dev won the third Prudential World Cup at Lord’s in June 1983, the `Haryana Express’ was asked by the captain of the Indian kabaddi team, Anup Kumar, another Haryanvi, as to how to face and deal with difficult and critical moments on the field.

The former India captain and all rounder, who is also a commentator for Star Sports, was not stumped by the seemingly innocuous question. “I have stopped playing long ago and I do not know what pressure is like. But I can definitely say that when I stepped on the field in whites or in colours, I only thought of playing to our team’s strengths and was not really concerned with what others said.

“I always believed that one had to make a sincere and honest effort (to convert catches). When you step on the court, enjoy the game; that’s the beautiful aspect of sport,” said Kapil, after unveiling the team jersey for the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup to be played in Ahmedabad from October 7 to 22.

The captain of the U Mumbai team that won the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi last year and the current captain of the Indian Kabaddi team, Anup Kumar, appeared awestruck by Kapil’s towering presence. There are a number of Haryana players in the Indian team, but the former cricket captain from Haryana won the repartee on stage hands down.

Kapil also touched upon the general increase in sports activity and the following for it in India. “There was a time when we used to wait for ‘ravivar’ (Sunday) when DD (Doordarshan) used to show a half hour sports programme. Now there are 12 to 15 channels that show sports 24 x 7. I feel happy today because India has progressed a lot in sports; there was a time when India was not known to be a country that believed in playing sports. I am more happy because today kabaddi is seen by almost every household in India. Kabaddi is an ancient sport, but very few people watched it. But thanks to the Star Sports medium, kabaddi has become a big sport. India’s kabaddi players have become super stars; they are recognised at airports, railway stations and restaurants. Indians not only watch cricket these days, but also other sports. Let anybody win the World Cup, but the game must be beautiful to watch. I will be more than happy if India wins the World Cup. My only advice is, don’t think about winning or losing, but play to your heart’s content,” said Kapil.

The Indian team: Anup Kumar (Captain, raider), Ajay Thakur (raider), Deepak Hooda (raider), Dharmaraj Cheralathan (defender), Jasvir Singh (raider), Kiran Parmar (defender/raider), Manjeet Chillar (all-rounder), Mohit Chillar (defender), Nitin Tomar ( all-rounder), Pardeep Narwal (raider), Rahul Chanudhari (raider), Sandeep Narwal (all-ounder), Surender Nada (defender), Surjeet (defender).