The Moment that Bowled Over a Nation

Photograph/Hemendra Anupamlal Shah

Photograph/Hemendra Anupamlal Shah

This article was originally published in February 2014.

The day 8 February 1994 was a historic moment for Indian cricket. A lot was at stake when Kapil Dev played the third Test against Sri Lanka at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad. During this time, there were doubts about Kapil losing his form and reaching the brink of retirement, as he was on a stalemate with his 431st wicket.

But after an hour and 44 deliveries later, Kapil silenced all his critics after he forced Sri Lanka’s Hashan Tillakaratne to edge a catch to Sanjay Manjrekar at forward short leg. This 432nd wicket in Kapil’s name was special because he broke New Zealander Sir Richard Hadlee’s record for the highest Test wicket taker ever.

There were 17 television crew members and seven cameramen to capture the moment. Cricket lover Hemendra Shah poised his Nikon FM2 with his 300mm lens to capture this crucial moment from the audience stand as well. He photographed the perfect moment where Kapil’s teammates rushed towards him with joy. This image also shows Kapil raising his hands in triumph next to a boundary ad cheering for Kapil’s ‘vital’ wicket. Despite being a spectator, the Times of India used Shah’s submission to break this news. Tilaks and garlands adorned this image across India, as fans saw the Haryana Huricane enter the pages of history.

West Indian paceman Courtney Walsh subsequently broke Kapil’s record in 2000, a distinction that is currently held by Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. This image will always hold a special place in the hearts of cricket lovers, as it marks one of the most important milestones of the finest all-rounder to ever have played for India. It was also special for Shah as he recalls how he offered this photograph to Kapil Dev for an autograph, and how he was surprised when Kapil asked for copies of the image.

Tags: September, better photography, Cricket, Ahmedabad, The Story Behind the Picture, 2014, Kapil Dev, 432, Sardar Patel Stadium, highest Test wicket taker, Hemendra Anupamlal Shah, Muttiah Muralitharan