Kaps Vs Australia

Australia salutes a hero

Kapil has long enjoyed great popularity in Australia where he has always been seen as a honest, uncomplicated, no-nonsense bloke from good-working class stock. These are qualities much admired Down Under. Of course, some of Kapil's finest and most memorable moments have come in titanic struggles with Australia.

He first played against Australia just 11 months after his test debut against Pakistan at Faisalabad in October 1978 and made an immediate impact topping the bowling averages with 28 wickets in the six match series against Kim Hughes' visitors. It was, infact, the series which brought Kapil's prodigious talents to the attention of a largely unsuspecting cricket world.

Sadly, because of the infrequency of Test matches between the countries he has played only one other home test series against Australia when he had the distinction of leading India in the tied test match at the Chidambaram stadium, chepauk in Madras. And it was on that extraordinary occasion that he played one of his most extraordinary innings. To ensure India avoided the follow-on, Kapil plundered 119 from 138 deliveries and advanced from 50 - 100 with just 16 scoring shots, 11 boundaries, a two and 4 singles. In this sort of form, Kapil is irresistable and as he has done all over the world he had the crowd baying for more. It was a thrilling performance and certainly one which did not surprise Doug Walters, who considers Kapil to be a finer batsman than bowler, of Ian Chapell, who believes Kapil to be blessed with the timing of a specialist batsman.

Kapil has made three visits to Australia - the second, in 1985-86 as captain - and played in 11 tests. And pretty well without exception he has always made an impact with the ball. Indeed he has the outstanding figures of 51 wickets at 24.58 from 3137 balls Down Under - including 8 for 106 on the back-breaking often heart breaking Adelaide Oval in 85-86.

Regrettably, Kapil has never produced his finest batting in Australia and has managed an aggregate of just 355 runs at 19.72. Statistics can tell a lot about Kapil but not every thing. Down Under its his honesty, sincerity and adherance to traditional values and virtues in the game which have won him a host of admirers on and off the field. And of course, in the tradition of the great new ball bowlers, he has always been prepared to speak his mind - especially when he believes he has been wronged.

Certainly Australians remember his indignation at what he perceived as unjust umpiring by Ray Isherwood and Dick French during the deadlocked and acrimonious series in Australia in 85-86. And while they might have taken umbrage at his remarks they greatly admired his sense of loyalty to his men and to his cap and country. The Australian cricket community salutes a good mate from India.

Source: The Sportstar