EVEN KAPIL DEV WAS BAD AT SPEAKING ENGLISH!
The great anecdote that I’am going to share with you comes from the life of India’s legendary player Kapil Dev- the cricketer who won first World Cup for India in 1983. This anecdote was shared by Navjot Singh Sidhu during his one of his speeches. It will definitely become the most memorable and inspiring one for each and every one of you when you will have learnt about it.
Kapil Dev used to be a reticent man or he didn’t have flair of speaking and especially when it came to speaking in English. His grip over spoken English was such pathetically poor that he would often feel shy and frightened whenever he had to face public or media. Like many of us, his hand was desperately tight at Spoken English and particularly at public speaking. Being not from a well-to-do family but a modest one, he didn’t get enough opportunity to refine and sharp his language proficiency in English. So it happened that, on November 16, 1983, when Kapil Dev completed the best bowling performance of his career, capturing nine wickets in the second West Indian innings at Ahmedabad, which was a rare feat at that time; foreign media desired to interview him.
Fearing that he would be unable to face the foreign media which were to take his interview on making that wonderful record, Kapil Dev shared his simmering fear with Navjot Singh Sidhu. Sidhu told him that if speaking in English with one’s own people he (Kapil) stutters, how could he face foreign people who are masters at English as it is their own language. Sidhu, who was skilled in spoken English, had had his own weakness. He too like Kapil had a stage fear, despite the fact that his English was superb. So Sidhu’s talk was full of frightening tone when he was talking with Kapil. It didn’t discourage or made Kapil weak rather he got emboldened more and told Sidhu that let the foreign media came, he would handle them anyhow.
The D-day came and Kapil found himself amongst foreign media like a little lamb standing solitary amongst a pack of hungry wolves. But still in such extremely tensed situation, keeping his poor English on mind, Kapil didn’t lose courage and he got awesomely determined.
He appeared so much relaxed, calm and jovial that when the first question was shot off towards him, his perfect and well timed reply made everyone rolling on the floor as if they would have been sitting in Kapil Sharma’s Comedy show. The question asked to him was, ‘Why India can’t produce another Kapil Dev?’ and Kapil Dev’s quick and instant reply was, ‘My mother is 62 years old and my father is long dead, so how is it possible for India to produce another Kapil Dev.’
His smart reply filled with humour and courage gave the foreign media a great laugh and they got enthralled and became great fan of him. And so in this unique and confidently calm manner, Kapil Dev combated his own fear of speaking in English. If he, like many of us, had taken that fear to his heart, he would definitely have felt crippled and stuck, but rather he encountered that fear with his own unique and audacious style.