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Social Media Trolls Spare No One, Not Even World Cup Winning Skipper Kapil Dev

By: G Krishnan

News18.com

Last Updated: October 15, 2022, 12:21 IST

New Delhi, India

Kapil Dev's remarks undermining the mental health aspects of young students brought him under attack from social media trolls.

Kapil Dev's remarks undermining the mental health aspects of young students brought him under attack from social media trolls.

India’s 1983 World Cup-winning captain and one of the greatest all-rounders the world has seen, Kapil Dev was not spared in the social media for his comments on players succumbing to pressure and complaining about it. He was blasted for his comments on mental health.

Trolling has become the name of the game in today’s world of social media. Every action by someone in the limelight, or for that matter, anyone doing anything in public, cannot escape getting trolled.

Be it Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar or MS Dhoni, Ravi Shastri or Sunil Gavaskar, all who have achieved great successes in cricket and who have been adored not just in India but also overseas, they have no choice but to be trolled for being in the public eye, making statements or doing anything that is caught by the eagle-eyed television cameras or the smart phones in everyone’s hands.

Also Read: Opinion | Kapil Dev Has Hurled The Truth Where It Hurts Mollycoddled Gen Z

India’s 1983 World Cup-winning captain and one of the greatest all-rounders the world has seen, Kapil Dev was not spared in the social media for his comments on players succumbing to pressure and complaining about it. He was blasted for his comments on mental health.

“I hear a lot of times on TV that there’s a lot of pressure on players to play in the IPL. Then I only say one thing, ‘don’t play’. If a player has passion, there will be no pressure. I can’t understand these American terms, pressure, depression. I’m a farmer and we play because we enjoy the game, and there can’t be any pressure while enjoying the game," Kapil had said at an event with badminton ace Saina Nehwal by his side.

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“I remember going to a school where students of Class 10 and 11 said they faced a lot of pressure. I said, ‘So, you also face pressure?’ You study in AC classes, fees are paid by the parents, teachers cannot beat you and then you say there is pressure. Ask me what pressure was in my time. Teachers used to beat us up and then would ask ‘where we had gone’. Students need to change this into pleasure and fun, pressure is a very wrong word. When you are in love, there cannot be pressure. I love my game and it cannot be pressure. We only prayed that it should not rain so that we could play. That was not pressure, that was pleasure,” the 63-year-old added.

Kapil has always spoken his heart out, may have struggled with English but has always inspired more than a generation with his spectacular deeds on the cricket grounds the world over, none better than leading the Indian team to World Cup triumph 39 years ago when nobody else believed they could go the full distance.

Kapil Dev’s team-mates from the 1983 World Cup stood by him for his statement. No better set of people to understand Kapil as to what exactly he meant. While many of Kapil’s team-mates whom news18.com contacted did not want to react to Kapil’s statement, they only supported their captain as to what exactly he meant and that people should take it in a positive manner and move on if they did not like his comments.

Sandeep Patil and Krishnamachari Srikkanth, the two top-scorers for India in the 1983 World Cup final against the West Indies, said they were Kapil’s statements and did not want to comment upon. They said they would rather discuss cricketing matters with Patil even excusing himself to focus on the upcoming Mumbai Cricket Association elections for which he is contesting for the post of president.

Madan Lal, the medium-pacer who played a crucial role in that 1983 World Cup win and who went on to become Indian cricket team’s coach and also a national selector, agreed with Kapil. “Whatever Kapil said is right. Kapil meant you will have pressure and you must be able to tackle it. The pressure brings the best out of you. Everybody has pressure. Parents have pressure feeding their children. Even players representing the country have pressure. How you tackle it is the name of the game. Now-a-days, people troll even if you say something and it is twisted. Kapil Dev is right. He has seen it all. He has the experience,” Lal said.

Kapil’s new ball partner and another key member of the 1983 World Cup, Balwinder Singh Sandhu, also supported his captain. “That is Kapil’s way of expressing himself. It is his views about pressure. Different people will have different views. It doesn’t mean what he is saying is nonsense. People should know how to respect others’ views. He put it in a very simple way how he understands (the word pressure) and how he wants to express it. If one doesn’t like it, it is okay. Kapil may not be agreeing with others’ views. I don’t think you have to take it so seriously. He has given his viewpoint. You don’t agree, it is fine.”

A former cricketer who did not wish to be named said that Kapil’s choice of words may have been better. “He says the way he feels it. Kapil meant it in a positive manner, don’t get bogged down with that. The choice of words could have been a little better. But, that’s Kapil Dev, saying it the way he feels,” the player said while giving a couple of examples from Kapil’s playing career.

“What he said is good from his standpoint of view. You can’t make it generic. The problem is when you make it generic, that it has to be the benchmark for everyone. No, that will never be. To each one his own. I have seen people doing extremely well (under pressure). You weigh your pros and cons,” he said.

Kapil was dropped for the only Test of his glittering career of 131 Tests and 225 ODIs. And, that was for playing a rash stroke and giving a catch in the deep in the Delhi Test against David Gower’s England in 1984-85 under Sunil Gavaskar’s captaincy.

“That was when the team was under pressure. A certain kind of approach was required in that Test. There are times when you play the game slightly differently, away from your natural game. But people say ‘that is the way he plays’. Pressure varies from individual to individual. One person will handle it in one manner, another person will handle it differently. If Gavaskar did not see a chance in winning a Test, he was willing to play out a draw. On the other hand, even if Kapil saw 1% chance of winning, he went for it and in the process ended up losing. That is the outlook one has. If somebody says there is no pressure at all, that’s never the case, no matter how great you are,” said the former player, who also gave the example of Kapil’s 175 not out under pressure.

“Take the 1983 World Cup match against Zimbabwe as an example. India were 17 for five. If you are saying the team wasn’t under pressure, you are mistaken. From 17 for five, how you adapted was important. If you saw Kapil’s innings, it was not that he batted in his usual manner. He spent more time on the field and he realised when he could play his shots and bring respectability to the score. Anyone who went in after that played the support role. Roger Binny, Madan Lal and Syed Kirmani were the main contributors while Kapil scored at a much brisker pace later on. The partnerships they had with Kapil certainly helped in building a winning total. India was under pressure at that point of time. Losing to Zimbabwe would have hampered India’s chances of entering the semifinals. At that point of time, India would have been down in the dumps.

“Let’s understand one thing, be it appearing for the board exams and all that, there is always the fear factor. There is pressure, no matter what kind of preparation is done. You are looking at joining a good college. It is certainly not a walk in the park. Some handle pressure better, some don’t.”

Kapil Dev’s team-mate for nearly a decade and all-rounder of the 1983 World Cup team, Ravi Shastri, had the last laugh about trolling. Asked how he handled players during his tenure as the head coach of the Indian team when they were being trolled and if that affected their performances, the former India captain and a popular commentator said: “I don’t believe in these trolls, strolls, etc. Our position is such that one day, you are in troll position one day and the next day, after scoring two hundreds or winning two matches, you are in pole position. From troll position, you straightaway come to Lewis Hamilton position, going to pole position. These trolls don’t make any difference.”

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first published:October 15, 2022, 12:21 IST
last updated:October 15, 2022, 12:21 IST
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