During his career, legendary allrounder Kapil Dev often drew comparisons with the likes of Richard Hadlee (New Zealand), Ian Botham (England) and Imran Khan (Pakistan). Kapil says while he wasn’t the greatest allrounder of his era, he was the best athlete than all the other four allrounders put together.
“I wouldn’t say I was the greatest, but I was a better athlete than all three put together,” Kapil told former India international and current head coach of India women’s team WV Raman on Inside Out podcast.
He went on to enumerate the qualities of the three, calling Hadlee the best bowler of the four. “The best bowling was Richard Hadlee’s – he was like a computer among the four of us,” he said.
He praised former Pakistan captain Imran for his perseverance and hard work who, Kapil reckons, started out as an ordinary bowler.
“Wouldn’t say Imran Khan was the best athlete or a natural, but he was the most hardworking player we’ve seen. When he was a youngster, he looked like an ordinary bowler, but then he became a very hardworking fast bowler and he learned by himself. And then he worked on his batting also,” Kapil said.
Kapil, who led India to their first ever ODI World Cup title in 1983, though feels Imran was a far better captain than a player. “Imran can run through the team (opponent). But Imran’s ability of leadership was far better. To control the Pakistan players during that time was a difficult task,” he said.
For Kapil, Botham was a true allrounder who had the capability to win matches on his own. “Ian Botham was a true allrounder – in given conditions, he could win a match on his own. I wouldn’t say Richard Hadlee was the best batsman. Botham could do damage to the team (opponent),” he said.