Dubai: Indian legend Kapil Dev reveals why cricketers love playing golf

The iconic Indian all-rounder is all set to play at the Dubai Sports Council CEO's Masters on Saturday


Rituraj Borkakoty

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Former Indian cricketer Kapil Dev. — AFP
Former Indian cricketer Kapil Dev. — AFP

Published: Thu 4 Jan 2024, 10:06 PM

Last updated: Thu 4 Jan 2024, 10:07 PM

Even 30 years after his retirement, Kapil Dev can never walk in any public place in India without being mobbed.

It’s the price you pay for being the first superstar fast bowler from the land of mystery spinners.

It’s also the price you pay for turning the world upside down at the hallowed Lord’s in 1983 when his Indian team brought the mighty West Indies to their knees.

At 64, Kapil is no longer the force of nature he once was. But he still has the same aura with which he dominated opponents in packed cricket stadiums.

The former Indian cricket captain was the cynosure of all eyes on Thursday when he walked into the Trump International Golf Club in Damac Hills, Dubai, for a press conference.

For Kapil, who will play in the Dubai Sports Council CEO’s Masters on Saturday, the greens at the golf club are a sight for sore eyes.

It’s the tranquillity of the golf greens where he finds the space to soak in the little moments of freedom and solitude.

The legendary cricketer smiled when this reporter asked him what draws cricketers to golf courses after they hang up their boots.

“Golf is the only game where you can see such greenery and beautiful landscapes. You can just be yourself. You can be alone, you can stroll around the greens, relax and play and play to enjoy,” he says.

“In cricket, you are always in an arena packed with people. But here on the golf course, what I love is the greens, almost two hundred acres of greens, in cricket we see only three acres of greens. It’s such a refreshing sight.”

The sport, Kapil says, also allows you to play regardless of your age.

“Golf is a sport which you can play even in your 80s and 90s. As long as you can walk, you can play,” he smiles.

“It’s the only field sport you can play as long as you live!”

Kapil, one of the greatest all-rounders of all time, then revealed how the greatest all-rounder cricket has ever seen first inspired him to play golf.

“The first cricketer I met who played golf was Garry Sobers. I was so impressed by his golf,” he says of the iconic West Indies cricketer.

“I was like ‘this guy has real talent’. I didn’t even start to play then. I went out for a golf game with him as a caddie, but I was amazed by his skills. It was wonderful to see a cricketer play that level of golf.

“I wanted to play the sport soon after that, but I only started playing after I stopped playing cricket. I didn’t know what to do (after retirement). I just wanted to be with myself. Then a friend of mine took me to a golf course, and it all started from that day.”

Over the years, Kapil has built an impressive golf resume playing as an amateur in tournaments across India.

Now he is looking forward to Saturday’s Dubai Sports Council CEO’s Masters in Dubai.

For a man who played a big part in establishing cricket in the UAE, featuring in some of the iconic matches at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in the 1980s, Kapil is in awe of the majestic golf courses here.

“Hats off to the UAE. Making a golf course in this part of the world is not easy, but they have almost 15-20 golf courses here. It’s amazing,” he says.

“I have no words to express myself, but I must give 100 per cent credit to them for having such a great vision.

“They have amazing golf courses here and some amazing golf tournaments (Dubai Desert Classic, Abu Dhabi Masters, the DP World Tour Championships) in this country.”

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