Thatscricket - News - Kapil Dev finally gets his due, Indian bread

Published: Wednesday, February 4, 2004, 20:36 [IST]
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Mumbai:Cricket legend Kapil Dev was this week offered a luxury that was denied him almost three decades ago when he was a fledgling young fast bowler - extra helpings of chapatis (Indian bread).

In 1976, Kapil, then a 17-year-old tearaway hoping to play big-time cricket, was rebuked by officials when he asked for more bread during a training camp for young cricketers at the Cricket Club of India (CCI) in Mumbai.

"Why do you want more chapatis?" thundered camp commandant Keki Tarapore, who had the reputation of being a strict disciplinarian. "I am young and want to be strong, so that I can become a fast bowler for India," replied Kapil. "Forget it," scoffed Tarapore. "No extra helpings for you or anyone. I know a fast bowler when I see one."

Kapil, who made his International debut two years later in 1978, ended up as one of cricket's leading all-rounders with a then world record tally of 434 wickets in 131 Tests and 5,248 runs.

On Tuesday evening, Kapil, 45, returned to the CCI to give a pep talk to the Indian Under-19 team that will take part in the Youth World Cup to be held in Bangladesh later this month.

Kapil, whose many business interests include owning a hotel in hometown Chandigarh, related the incident to his young listeners.

As the session ended and the group walked over to the dinner table, a club official brought Kapil a plateful of chapatis. "You can have as many as you want, sir," the official said.

"I will," replied a bemused Kapil, "but please don't forget these young kids also. They need them more than me now."

Tarapore, who played just one first-class match but was a renowned coach, died in 2001.

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