Pause, rewind, play: Why Kapil Dev’s 175* has achieved mythical proportions

“It is a lovely sight here with those rhododendrons in full bloom as Rawson comes in to Kapil Dev who has 99…this one is nudged into offside and they go through for the single. (cheers and applause) and he’s got it! There’s going to be applause from all the Zimbabwean players never mind all the Indian supporters.”

Those are the words of Bob Nixon. He was born in Tanganyika, modern-day Tanzania. He played league cricket in Johannesburg. He was a dentist. He was also a stage actor who won awards. And, due to circumstances that are part of the cricketing folklore, he was the man who gave voice to the most incredible One-Day International innings that only a few hundred saw.

Kapil Dev’s 175 not out at Nevill Ground, Turnbridge Wells on June 18, 1983: an innings that was watched only by those present at the ground on the day and never after, because it was not telecast. The BBC crew, as Indian fans have come to rue for decades now, was on strike that day.

An epic innings

For lovers of symmetry, Kapil’s innings will forever be associated with two numbers: 17/5 (India’s score when Yashpal Sharma got out) and 175* (what the Indian captain scored to set a…

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