I don't think there's a bigger sporting hero than Kapil Dev: Irfan Pathan

I don’t think there’s a bigger sporting hero than Kapil Dev: Irfan Pathan

Irfan revealed that he and his friends often tried to imitate Dev's famous Natraj shot.

Kapil Dev & Irfan Pathan
Kapil Dev & Irfan Pathan. (Photo Source: Instagram)

Former Indian bowling all-rounder Irfan Pathan recently revealed his cricketing hero and he is none other than the first Indian World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev. The 1983 World Cup hero is hailed as one of the greatest icons of all-time and is looked upon as the inspiration by many budding cricketers across the world.

Showering praises on Kapil, Irfan said that when he was growing up, there was no bigger sporting hero as him owing to his electric fielding, deceiving bowling and fierce batting. In a career that spanned over 16 years, the former Indian captain represented India in 131 Test Matches and 225 ODIs, scoring 5,248 and 3,783 runs respectively.

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo, Pathan said, “I don’t think there was a bigger sporting hero than Kapil Dev when I was growing up. He was captain of the side, a match-winner with the bat, and he swung the ball. If anyone wanted to be an allrounder in India, there was no better role model.”

“I have watched very few of his games because not many matches were shown live those days. Even if they were, we couldn’t always watch because we didn’t have a TV at home. We had to go to our neighbour’s place.” the pacer added.

Today I will show you how to take a catch just like Kapil Dev: Irfan Pathan

Recalling some of his fond childhood memories, Irfan revealed that he and his friends often tried to imitate Dev’s famous Natraj shot or him running backwards to take a catch of Sir Viv Richards during the 1983 World Cup.

“As kids we would tell each other, ‘Today I will show you how to take a catch while running backwards, just like Kapil Dev.’ While batting, we would try copying his Natraj shot,” Pathan stated.

Meeting their childhood cricket heroes is nothing less than a dream for any person. Same was the case with Irfan Pathan. During the interview, Pathan also shed light on his first meeting with the former Indian all-rounder. Irfan reminisced that the first time he met his cricket icon was in 2004 in a fast bowlers’ camp in Kolkata before the Pakistan tour. There, Kapil Dev made them aware of the different aspects of fast bowling- swing, and wrist position.

After talking about his first meet with the World Cup-winning captain, Irfan also revealed some of his fondest memories with Dev. The two worked together at the Star Sports Studio where they got enough time to develop a bonding and discuss more about their personal and professional lives.

“My fondest memories, however, are of working with him at the Star Sports studio. The non-stop talk, eating jalebis… he always brings something or the other to eat. I consider myself lucky that I am working with my role model. A couple of years ago, he invited me for dinner to his home in Delhi and we chatted for a long time.

“You realise that despite being such a big icon, he is so humble. Watching him at work, interacting freely, having such a special bond… sometimes when I look back, it all feels so unreal,” the Jammu and Kashmir coach said.