Episode 10 | Kapil Dev | Breakfast with Champions Season 6Randall Smitham January 15, 2020 0 COMMENTS
Can I be honest? Not because you are recording. I like to tell everybody There is a very small difference
between need and greed. Sometimes it’s the need that drives you
and sometimes it’s greed. In my life, I have always tried to learn. A senior cricketer once told me “Kapil, if you want to be successful in life keep your eyes and ears open
while sleeping also.” Success will happen. But how do you learn? Your friends, your life and your situations can teach you better with every passing day if you have the willingness to learn. But if you think you know everything… – Good luck.
– Not “Good luck”, it should be “Goodnight”. I think one of the greatest
tragedies in cricket is on that afternoon in June,
in Tunbridge Wells there was no camera. Because I would have gone and seen
that innings of yours. Your innings of 175 runs. I would have gone back
and seen that at least 175 times. What do you think about that?
Just that angle. I think… I don’t think that way.
You enjoy that moment. – Yeah.
– That’s fine. I mean… God gives it to you
and he says “Go, enjoy it”. So that was my day. He said, “Go and have fun”. “Go on…” But you were upset while going in to bat. I was upset with myself. I think more than that, I was just… I would say nervous. – Yeah.
– When you are the captain you have more responsibilities on shoulder. You were called for it
when you weren’t even ready. I didn’t know what happened. I think that’s the best part. – Yeah.
– I was taking a shower… – …and enjoying it.
– Yeah. And then somebody knocked the door
and said “It’s your turn to bat”? I always say “I don’t remember if I had taken out the soap.” I always say
that sometimes you remember accidents but you don’t remember day-to-day things. Sunny (Sunil Gavaskar) had told me those 175 runs by Kapil changed the game. I told him “changed the game”
means you won a lost match. He said “No! It didn’t change that match. It changed the game of cricket”. It’s a good compliment. Isn’t it? Yeah. If somebody of that caliber
comes out and says it you always feel proud. In my mind,
Sunil (Gavaskar) was the true professional that India produced. Number one. Vinoo Mankad might have played before him.
I’ve never seen him. But I think Sunil Gavaskar
was a true professional because for him just playing cricket
wasn’t everything. He wouldn’t go to night clubs. “I won’t sit in a place
where people are smoking because it may affect my eyesight.” So when a cricketer says such things, he is at a different level. When I was young
and had newly become a cricket fan the thing that I hated the most was the hot potato of captaincy. Now, it’s almost 25 years
since I stopped playing. I’m not bothered about anything. I can easily say that the cricket board
shouldn’t have played this game with us. Sometimes he is the captain,
sometimes I’m the captain. Even though, in 1983, they made me the captain.
I’m not going to deny that. It’s unfair when you have always dreamt
for that when playing. They should have appointed Mr. Gavaskar
as the captain at that time because he was mature, sensible
and he knew the game. But the board wanted a youngster
to be the captain. And in 1985, when they removed me
from captaincy, I still felt – that it’s the wrong time to do it.
– Yeah. At that point, I had matured
and understood the game better. I was getting better at the game. But they removed me. They appointed Mr. Gavaskar
as the captain again. They played with us. They had made a mess. Board members used to play well. And you were such a young captain.
Were you the… I was lucky. I got support from my seniors. Yeah. Who else was younger
than you in that team? Just Ravi… There was Ravi Shastri,
Srikkanth (Krishnamachari Srikkanth)… Cheeka (Krishnamachari Srikkanth)
is younger than you. …and Sunil Valson.
All were few months older or younger. I had… Like Sunil Gavaskar… He debuted in 1971. – Yeah.
– I debuted in 1978. So eight years senior is like…
In cricket, he is your grandfather. – Yeah.
– On the field, it was very difficult for me. Firstly, I didn’t have
the required finesse to talk and make a point.
I was very straight to the point and sometimes, on the field, you have to give respect to the seniors. I remember a small incident. It happened when I was the captain. We were playing at Barbados. Firstly, I bowled
then Sandhu (Balwinder Singh Sandhu) did. After the fast bowlers I brought in Ravi Shastri
as the first change. By then, almost 30 overs were done. 25 or 30. And from the slips, Venkat came towards me and said “Kapil” I said, “Yes, Venkat”. He asked, “Did I say I don’t want to bowl?” So there were such characters. I said, “No, Venky.
You will get a chance to bowl”. But when you are so young
and somebody who is so senior… You get scared, right?
Thinking if you have offended him. More than fear, it is that in your eyes and thoughts you respect your senior cricketers so much you can’t say anything to them
even if you want to. What were your qualities
when you were 13 or 14 years? – In Haryana…
– Nothing. When did you realize your goal that… I never had any goal. – My goal was just to play.
– Yeah. And… I would play anytime be it day or night. If I got a chance to play, I’d play. I used to play marbles too. I started playing cricket because I didn’t like to study. And left playing football because a football match
would be over in about two hours and then I would have to return to class. So those type of stories. Do you remember the breakthrough
when it happened? I think it became serious
when we went for Haryana school trials from my school batch.
Eight or nine boys went for it. All of them got selected, except me. I would say that was a turning point or that God was on my side at that time. They didn’t pick me
and the school used to get one or two new balls everyday
for the practice. – Yeah.
– When all the seniors went for the match… they gave me the new ball because
I was a little taller than the other people. And, by the time they were back, I would have sent almost three or four boys to the hospital, the ones
who had come to the practice. I was so angry… – “Left me and went.”
– Yeah. They left me. Don’t you feel it as a kid? “You went
for the movie without me? How could you go?” “Why didn’t you take me?” – “Now face the bouncer.”
– And… And within one year not even one year, less that that… The senior state team had to be picked to play Hot Weather Cricket Tournament
in Delhi. So the senior team selected me
as their main bowler. I mean seven to eight Ranji Trophy
players were there. So that was the turning point, I would say. Which means, the journey
to be the greatest fast bowler
that the country has ever produced one of the greatest in the world… Happened almost by a selection mistake
that somebody made. I don’t know…
But that was one thing I would say. – Amazing.
– And I was very shy. And… Somebody like you came to me
asking for an interview. I couldn’t refuse but I was shy. So he asked, “Who is Kapil Dev?” And I said, “Me”. He was speaking to me in English. Imagine my plight. I said, “Oh”.
He said he wanted to interview me and was talking in English. I said, “Give me five minutes”
and I ran away from there. I can’t explain, in the ten years of IPL… You know, controlling
Sherry Paji (Navjot Singh) is… Is difficult. In the presence of two people he’d be quiet.
Sunny (Sunil Gavaskar) and you. And when we speak about you
he would be like “He is my captain…” I think the only transformation
if I’ve seen in any cricketer is in Navjot Singh Sidhu. I mean… Sure, he was a very bright kid. We used to stay at his place
and have meals there. And poetry and Navjot Singh Sidhu… I mean the whole day
he used to hold his hair bun and read books. He was so much involved. And till he played cricket also… For the first few years, I don’t think
I heard more than “Good afternoon”, “Good morning” or
“Sat Sri Akaal, Paaji”(greeting in Punjabi) and that’s it. And I thought he was very shy. But when he started talking I can’t imagine till today.
I can’t imagine. Sir, what happened is that all the words that
he had saved up for almost 25 to 30 years are now coming out at once. That dam was brimming. So when the flood gates were opened at once everyone drowned in it. The flood hasn’t subsided yet. But, Gaurav, do you know
who are the best people? – Storytellers.
– Yeah. Those who can narrate a story well along with interesting anecdotes I think they are the best people. Who were your best buddies in the team? With whom did you hang out
in the evenings or have fun? Even in those days, people from north
and west would hang out separately. – It is going to remain throughout.
– Yeah. – Firstly, the comfort of same language.
– Language, food and all that. I mean I love Roger Binny. He is my best friend till date. But he couldn’t speak a word of Hindi
and I couldn’t speak a word of English. So despite being good friends you still want some time to chat. Have you watched that movie
“Ek Duuje Ke Liye” starring Kamal Haasan? – Yes.
– You reminded me of that movie. Where both don’t understand
each other’s language. I’m not saying yours is a romantic story. No, I used to love Roger Binny a lot.
Even today I do. In my 35 years of knowing him I have never seen him get angry. – Yeah.
– Never seen him angry. So, he is such a lovable character. It used to be fun with him. Now we’re friends
so we can talk much more than that. – Yeah.
– He is a great guy. I think you met Sachin (Tendulkar)
at the nets. There was something… You saw
him at Brabourne stadium, right? – You called him or…
– No… I didn’t. No, I didn’t. I finished my practice. Mr. Raj came to me and said, “He is young. He will be very happy if you bowl to him.” I said, “Mr. Raj, I’m tired.
I just finished my net practice.” He said, “He is young and is just 15 years. Bowl just two or three balls
and he will be happy.” I had my shoes on and was at the nets,
so I thought it’s fine. I bowled a few balls and felt he can play. Suddenly I thought of testing him and increased the speed
and he hit that shot with such ease then… I thought… “Who is he?” He is a kid but the shot was good. But, honestly, I didn’t think he would play a lot of cricket and be the God of cricket. – Yeah.
– He was… – …far better than what he performed.
– Yeah. – He still had more talent.
– Wow! Obviously there were less cameras and there were no stump mics so a lot of on-field conversations
have gone unrecorded. We used to speak. I think,
we never spoke with West Indian players. Viv Richards? Yeah, Viv was definitely outstanding. I think it’s not his batting. – His attitude, you know, that…
– Chewing gum. No, he used to look into the bowler’s eyes. Back in our times, we were taught never to look into a bowler’s eyes. Just lower your head and play the shot. But he was one batsman who, after hitting,
would look up to you and be like… – He never needed any words.
– Yeah… Several times. West Indian fast bowlers
didn’t have to do anything. If they were angry,
we would get to know from their bowling. That this time…
Yeah, smell the leather. And… Whenever we faced West Indian players there was a sense of fear
and we would always believe if there is one fast bowler,
we say we will handle him. But when you have terrific pacers
bowling to you back to back… Didn’t you ever feel like telling them
“Stop it, guys”? “Get a slow bowler or a spinner. What is this? How can you treat
your guests like this?” It used to be good.
Sometimes when the slow bowlers came in… …the batsmen who were batting
would say “Don’t loot. If you try to loot runs in an over…” We’d make 15 to 20 runs in two overs,
then the fast bowlers would come again. “So respect the bowler, appreciate him and hit boundaries once in a while.” So that used to be the situation. It was like that. I remember. “Do not score more runs in his over. “Hit a boundary and don’t score runs
for the next five overs. Even if it goes off stump… Act a bit and say… – “Well bowled.”
– “Look at the pitch.” Provided the captain
doesn’t get another bowler. Cricket was such fun. – Yeah.
– The rest… With Pakistan, it used to be difficult
because we would understand their language. Even if someone used abusive words,
we would understand. It would offend more.
If we understand what they say then it hurts deeply. Such as… If you don’t know Punjabi
and someone abuses you, you won’t feel it. I wouldn’t understand
when someone abuses me in English. I will say, “Oh, he is saying cute”. So, by the way, in this hotel, The Lodhi, you have quite good memories
of this place. – You got married here.
– Yeah. So did the rituals take place here? I spent my nuptial night here. Wow! At this point, I can lie to you
and say I had planned this. Yeah, you can still say. What a plan! How is my planning? It’s good. You got married very young, actually. – In 1981.
– Yeah. So, back then you were 22. Yeah, we got engaged
and Romi’s father expired. – Oh.
– So they were two girls and… You know, they were feeling uneasy. Then… – The need of the hour was to get married.
– Yeah. So I said I won’t get married… …before my sister does. – And then?
– So my sister got married on the 5th. I got married on the 6th. Done. So all the guests
had to come just once. – All in the same vehicle…
– We were in Chandigarh. And I remember, during the wedding, my brother and other people were dozing off during the rituals and I said “Wake up!” I don’t blame them. They hadn’t slept
for three days, so it was a big call. Then, of course, all… Your family went along with you
for the World Cup. I think no, by the time we reached nobody expected that we would reach
the semi-final or to save some money as our
respective wives would be with us. Because, back then, we used to get
just 500 dollars. My God. Wait. 500 dollars per game
or for the whole… No… 500 dollars you can exchange
from the government. Oh, okay. So you had
an allowance of 500 dollars. And individual allowance would be… – Per diem…
– 15 pounds, 10, 20 or 30 dollars or such. We were a little lucky. But South Indian players had
a little too much problem with that. They wanted their rice, “Sambhar”
and curd as a must. Is this true that you used to say
“I’m a fast bowler and I need more food” and people would say
“There’s no fast bowler in India. Don’t lie”? – Actually that’s how it started.
– Yeah. And Bombay was the hub of cricket. It was a saying that “If you play for Bombay,
you can very well play for India”. Bombay administration didn’t realize that we, who come from North India, eat more. That we eat more rotis than rice. They said, “No, you will get only 2 rotis”. What are you saying! At that time. – Today, one and a half roti is also fine.
– Yeah. One and a half is good enough. These rumors, you see… I want to clear all the rumors today. Is it true that there were buffaloes at home
for fresh milk, when you were a kid? – It is true.
– Yeah. – My father didn’t know about cricket.
– Yeah. And my coach told him
that I’m very thin and I need to have milk and healthy food. And my father was a very simple person. He said, “Is it?”, got two cows
and tied them behind the factory. And the background we are from – we never sold milk.
– Oh. Now there are two cows… …in the backyard and at least 20 to 30 litres of milk
would be produced. I think my dad died
when I was 14 or 15 years old. From 14 years to 19 years, I don’t even remember if I drank water. Because milk used to come filled
in a glass bottle – the ones in which you get beer.
– Yeah. The empty beer bottles
would be filled with milk. I remember, we used to drink only that. – Yeah.
– So that’s true. Thanks to my dad. Okay, one more rumor. Sherry Pa always says about your famous line
“When will there be another Kapil Dev?” Was this real or is it a story? Didn’t I tell you? The ones who narrate
stories are beautiful people. I think, before that, my mother
had said something similar. So, someone asked my mom “When are we going to have
another Kapil Dev?” To which my mom replied, “I’m growing old
and Kapil’s dad is also not alive. Now there cannot be another Kapil Dev”. So, my mother has her own sense of humor. And, like… …my mom said, “If I had known
that it would matter so much then I would have had a few more sons.” I think the joke was that and
when somebody asked me I said the same thing. I said,
“My mom has told…” Your spirit of enterprise in life,
I really admire that. Because you are a serial entrepreneur. And from the time you retired,
you know, you have a head for business. Where did it come from?
Where do you think it has come from? When I was playing test cricket our manager was Chandu Borde. He was a former Indian captain. And when we won the test match in Bombay Mr. Chandu came to me and said “I’m going to Pune
and I’ll see you in the next test match.” So even after three hours, he was still there I asked, “Mr. Borde, you haven’t left?
You were about to go to Pune.” He said, “No.
The board secretary is sleeping. He will give me my daily allowance
when he wakes up.” That one statement changed my life. That is because he was a greater cricketer than us in his era. And that day, he had to wait to get his daily allowance to go back. That is the time when I started thinking “Open your mind.” That cricket is not everything.
After retiring from cricket if something like that happens to me,
it would be bad. Because when you are playing your thought process or lifestyle is here. But if you go below it,
then you will struggle. You will be a bitter and an unhappy man. So I used to say that I have to do something which will keep me as happy
as I have always been. Before leaving there is
one more important thing to do. Our dear friends who are making a movie
on the 1983 World Cup… I’m extremely happy it’s getting made.
I’m extremely happy as a fan. I’m sure you are extremely happy Kabir Khan making the film
and Ranveer (Singh) playing you. These actors, I think they are fabulous and the director putting
each and every small thing. Like my pronunciation is not correct. So they used to pick up each and everything
on how I talk. He was just thinking
if he has to be a fast bowler then what should be his attitude… And he was trying to establish
how I get angry. – I told him I don’t get angry.
– Yeah. I have been angry on the field. Off the field,
I never got angry in my life. But they felt that I might lose my temper in the evening and break a glass or so. I said I never lost my cool. – We Punjabis don’t break glasses.
– Yeah. We raise them for a toast. That’s not something to be broken. Paaji, I get tempted to ask you
four more questions when you are done answering
my previous question. Even if we sit here for another five days I’d still not be done with the discussion. So, I think we should stop here
before you hit me with the ball. No. Thank you very much. Even I haven’t given such a long interview
to anyone. Thank you so much, Paaji. It’s a pleasure
and an honor to have you here. Thank you. Thank you. Hi, I am Kapil Dev and you can watch me
on Breakfast with Champions. And don’t forget to like
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