Kapil Dev wins Global Diversity Award for Sport 2011

April 7, 2011

India’s first World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev has been chosen for the Global Diversity Award for Sports 2011 for his outstanding achievements in cricket and his recent induction into the ICC Hall of Fame 2010.

Rt Hon. Keith Vaz, Labour MP, Chairman, Home Affairs Select Committee, who hosted the event, described Kapil as “Global Sporting Icon”.

The award was instituted by the Next Step Foundation, a non-partisan not-for-profit organisation set up by Vaz that promotes diversity and leadership issues in the United Kingdom. Previous recipients of the Award include Reverend Jesse Jackson, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan and Britain’s ace motor racing expert Lewis Hamilton.

Arjan Vekaria, of Demystifying India, an organisation uncovering barriers to business success with India, presented the award to former Indian cricket captain in the presence of former West Indies skipper Clive Lloyd, former Indian wicket keeper-batsman Farooq Engineer, leading NRI Labour MP Virendra Sharma and Mrs Valerie Vaz, MP, at a gala function organised in the dining room of the House of Commons here last night.

Vaz said Kapil would travel from London to Leicester, about 160 km today to inaugurate Soar Valley College’s cricket pitch. Soar Valley is a specialist Maths and Computing College which has recently seen major building works as part of the building schools for the Future initiatve.

As part of the improvement the original site of the school building was developed into new playing fields, including the new cricket pitch that Kapil will inaugurate. The new cricket pitch will be known locally as “Kapil Square”.

Receiving the award, Kapil said, “I played cricket with total passion and I enjoyed my cricketing career. After I stopped playing cricket, I started playing golf. I really enjoy golf now.”

Kapil regaled the audience with a number of embarrassing incidents he had to face during his cricketing days as his English was not good enough.

When he was chosen to tour England in 1979, the erstwhile Indian captain Bishen Singh Bedi remarked, “How can we take Kapil? He can not speak English.”

“Then I took him aside and told him that we should take somebody from Oxford. He may not play cricket but he can speak English.”

He also narrated his experiences in Australia and the Caribbean, where he found it difficult to understand their accent of English language.

According to the citation, Kapil, known as the ‘Haryana Hurricane’, is regarded as one of the greatest all-rounders to have played the game of cricket.

“Named by Wisden as the Indian Cricketer of the Century in 2002, pipping team-mate Sunil Gavaskar and the ‘Little Master’ Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil captained India to their maiden Cricket World cup in 1983. As a high-class batsman and a genuine strike bowler, only one all-rounder is listed in the all-time top 10 wicket-takers and top 10 run-getters for his country and that is Kapil Dev.

“Under his leadership, the Indian team was transformed from an underdog team at the 1983 World Cup into a victorious world power. Kapil’s uniqueness was his uncomplicated approach to cricket, blending this with immense determination, pride and courage; a combination that endeared him to the cricket-made Indian crowds which made him the first true blockbuster superstar of Indian cricket.”

A right-arm pace bowler noted for his graceful action and potent outswinger Kapil was India’s main strike bowler throughout most of his career and holds the record for the most Test match-wickets between 1994 and 1999. His aggressive batting helped India in many difficult situations by taking the attack to the opposition. Kapil Dev is the only cricketer to have scored 5000 runs and taken 400 wickets in Tests; he was India’s one-man army in the truest sense in his heydays,” the citation stated.

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