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Nice to be recognised: Kapil Dev

- ‘Rehabilitation’ complete for India’s 1st World Cup-winning captain
Kapil Dev

Calcutta: Kapil Dev’s ‘rehabilitation’ is complete: He’s been “unanimously” chosen by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for its top honour — the Col. C.K. Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award, for 2013.

The BCCI made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon, via a media release.

Blandly done, but that’s the way it is with the BCCI, whether they are honouring somebody or not.

Besides the trophy and citation, Kapil will receive a cheque for Rs 25 lakh at the BCCI’s annual awards function, for 2012-13, around the middle of next month.

The function is expected to be held in Mumbai, in all probability on the eve of Team India’s departure for a month-long tour of New Zealand.

‘Rehabilitation’ has been used with a purpose, as Kapil had been the face of the rebel Indian Cricket League, which actually got off the blocks before the BCCI’s very own Indian Premier League.

As it wasn’t a level-playing field, the Zee-promoted rebel league was doomed to fail. It did, rather quickly, as it turned out.

Kapil’s return to the “family,” as the BCCI prefers to call itself, was set in motion in July 2012 when BCCI president Narayanswamy Srinivasan invited him for a “cup of tea” at Taj Palace in New Delhi.

Their meeting, the first between the two after Srinivasan became president in September 2011, lasted around 40 minutes.

It was a fine gesture on the part of Srinivasan and Kapil reciprocated appropriately.

A couple of hours after being conferred the BCCI’s top honour, Kapil spoke to The Telegraph. “I’m happy and I’m proud... It’s nice to be recognised and respected by your parent, which the BCCI has been to us cricketers. After a stage, money and monetary rewards don’t matter, but recognition does.”

Kapil, it may be recalled, had been adjudged the Indian Cricketer of the Century by Wisden, back in 2002, a recognition which meant a lot to him.

Among others, Kapil had beaten Sunil Gavaskar. The latter, however, beat Kapil to the BCCI’s top award by a year!

But both have had to wait — Gavaskar for 25 years after his retirement; Kapil for 19.

Understandably, Kapil didn’t wish to talk about his association with the rebel league on the day the BCCI honoured him, but a confidant did point out that while India’s first World Cup-winning captain did have “differences of opinion” with the parent body, he’d never set out to hurt it.

“Kapil has never been anybody’s ‘yes’ man. Rather, he has spoken out on what he felt was right. But it’s not that he set out to harm the BCCI... He wanted a better deal for the cricketers and saw himself as someone also promoting the game,” the confidant maintained.

Apart from being a former captain, Kapil (now 54) has served as the India coach and chairman of the National Cricket Academy.

Incidentally, Ambati Rayudu, who featured in the rebel league, has already played for India in ODIs and is even in the Test squad currently in South Africa.