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The Man Who Speaks ‘Kaplish’

But no such thing with Kapil Dev. He doesn’t have to weigh his words before opening his mouth. Because, he doesn’t need to speak English.
Kapil Dev turns 63
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It was the Britons who brought cricket to India. They also took it to other countries colonized by the crown. It doesn’t come as a surprise therefore, that English is still the primary language of communication in international cricket matches. But that is exactly where even the best of the lot stumble. The man of the moment, one who was just moments ago wielding his willow with elan is suddenly at a loss. He doesn’t know what to say. He’s conscious of his accent, his grammar, he is searching for words, while they stick the boom up to his face. Cricketers from the subcontinent are oh so often caught in the wrong foot when asked to deliver an answer in English. But no such thing with Kapil Dev. He doesn’t have to weigh his words before opening his mouth. Because, he doesn’t need to speak English. He speaks Kaplish.

A twenty-four year old Kapil Dev, said after lifting the Cricket World Cup in 1983, “I am happy, what my team done here today…A target wasn’t good enough to fight…”

In 2008, at an event celebrating twenty five years of India’s first World Cup win, he says, “We like acknowledge how proud how happy today we are. You are inviting us and giving us such a reception which we never ever expected. What we achieved 25 years I think in our own mind we were very young people. Perhaps some of the people understood what happened. As a captain I didn’t understand what really happen and how it happen…People loved us and that was the biggest reward. The board loved us and that was the reward. A lot of people in last one week or ten days talk lot about money. In my mind money everybody loves money but the love and affection what people get it, what you are giving to us, I think that is unparallel.”

He continues unhindered, without as much as a hiccup. If you listen to him carefully, you realize he sometimes abolishes the use of prepositions and at others he is generous with indefinite article. During the BCCI-ICL spat he said “I never want to say that but today I am saying that. Today or ever cricket will go divide somewhere only one person to be blamed.”

Before he became captain of the Indian cricket team, Kapil Dev played under the captaincy of Bishan Singh Bedi and S Venkatraghavan and was terrified of the latter because “he only used to speak in English”.

Kapil Dev’s English better known as Kaplish is just like him. Flamboyant, endearing imperfect and full of life. The cricket legend turns 63 today. The biopic ‘83’ released on Christmas Eve to rave reviews.

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