Former Indian captain Kapil Dev stated that he chose to believe in himself over other superstitious practices after an incident that almost got him dismissed during a game. The 58-year old added that he still observes players following similar superstitious practices and that makes him laugh.
Superstitions have been a part of Indian cricket since ages and have affected the fans and the cricketers alike. Zaheer Khan's lucky handkerchief, Ravichandran Ashwin's lucky bag during the 2011 World Cup and Sachin Tendulkar wearing his left pad first are all evidence of how the cricketers adopted different practices which they termed lucky for their game.
Kapil Dev, who led India to the first World Cup in 1983, like the other cricketers, followed some superstitious practices which he believed helped his on-field performance.
“There is a lot of superstition. Even when you are watching a match at home and if India is playing well, they (family) do not allow you to leave. I think everyone has their own beliefs. That is why this game is so popular,” Kapil Dev stated on What The Duck season 2.
The 58-year old then elaborated the superstitious practices he followed during his playing days.
“When I was a youngster, I too had my own set of beliefs. I would always wear the left pad first and put the right foot first on the ground. These were little things… do the right things in life,” he added.
The 1983 World Cup winning captain then narrated an incident that made him question his practices and shun them altogether after wearing a long Lord Shiva chain during a game almost cost him his wicket.
“I would wear a slim chain with a Lord Shiva pendant because a sportsman is always a little scared. You (want to) keep God close to your heart. I played a shot and my chain touched the bat and it made a sound. The chain was quite long and it came out. There was an appeal (for caught behind). Luckily, the umpire gave not out. I was relaxed. But in the evening, I removed the chain and
“My inner voice said that maybe these chains will not score runs for me. If God is there, then he’s there. If you look at a top swimmer at Olympics level, they shave all their body hair so that they can swim even faster. And here (in cricket), we wear so many things and make ourselves heavy. Today, when I observe a few players, adjusting their chains after every ball, I feel their mind… second thought is here."
The 58-year old concluded stating that self-belief and self-realisation are the key components to becoming a better player rather than superstitions.
“So, to avoid it, I got rid of my chain and the bracelet. If I had the ability, then I will score runs. A chain or any other thing is not going to score runs for me. I wanted to know if I can make runs without them. Somehow, I freed myself from all these things. When I see some players today, I laugh. They still don’t have the self-belief in them. They don’t have self-realisation,” said Kapil.