Sunday, November 02, 2008

Thank you Anil Kumble...

One of the legends of the game retired today. Anil Kumble, take a bow! You truly are one of Indian cricket's gems. For the last 18 years, you have been instrumental in providing some of India's finest moments in cricket. You will certainly be missed a lot... Having watched you for a good part of the last two decades, I just thought I should thank you in the only way I could think of - on my blog! And not without reason...
  • You made millions of Indians get back the faith that their team could win. Right from the time the demoralized team came back home in 1992-93' to face England, you have injected the team with the necessary confidence to win. The thumping series win against England was just the start of many series wins at home... In ODIs as well as tests...
  • You were one of the key reasons why India became a tiger at home! Sure, the 4 batting stalwarts of India scored tons of runs. But we needed someone to take 10 wickets every inning. And 20 wickets in the match. And you sure took the first statement to heart, when you bagged all ten against Pakistan in the same venue that would become your last as well... Not one in the 10 test playing nations has been spared of your tremendous effect...
  • You have infused terror in the minds of many an opponent batsman. And made them sit up and take notice of a thin tall bespectacled man who could only bowl straight balls without an iota of turn. Yes, so many were apprehensive on how long you would last with that one delivery. But you put paid to all their doubts by sending back batsmen 600 times in test cricket with literally that one single type of ball...
  • Your amazing energy to bowl at the stumps even in your fiftieth over in the inning is just awesome - as Steve Waugh once famously said, the batsman can never rest when you are bowling to them because they know if they miss, you hit the stump or the pad...We sure knew we could expect you to always be tight and bowl a deadly line and length at any point in the match.
  • Your child-like glee when you get someone out with your rare googly, or when you specially position VVS in a second wide slip for that leading edge to be caught, made the layman viewer emotionally attached to your every single move on the field.
  • You gave us the lighter moments too. We know you don't like fielding as much as your bowling. (But for that matter, just one or two people in the Indian team ever took to fielding properly!) The way you dived at the ball only to let it always pass, or the way you run towards the ball only to raise your hand to warn the fielder in the deep that it is inevitably coming to him... These are mannerisms that have sure lightened our cricket watching!
  • But you were a lot more adept at batting to save India the blushes quite a few times! With an exaggerated forward movement even to the fastest of bowlers... Specially when you made that fighting half century against South Africa in Eden Gardens along with Azhar, or when you stuck around with Srinath to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against Australia in the tri-nation prelims, or the time you struck your first hundred against England last year... Or even the fighting 40 to take India past 600 in your last test match...
  • Not resting on your laurels at home, you finally proved your detractors wrong by wrecking havoc overseas as well. You were instrumental in our away wins too, and thus kicked all your detractors in the butt! Though Dravid did get the most of the honours for the wins deservedly, somewhere unsung were your contributions to that series win in Windies, or the great Adelaide win in Australia or even the last test series win in England.
  • Your passion for cricket, and your unflinching resolve to try and take wickets probably of every ball. More importantly, every time you had the ball in your hand, you made India believe you could get a wicket, no matter what the match situation was... Or who the batsman was... Just that impending feeling of the opponents getting out caught to Dravid at silly point or getting plumb in front or seeing their middle stump knocked off, gave sheer delight to the millions of Indian cricket fans...
  • Your never say die spirit needs to be embodied in every single Indian cricketer. With a bandaged jaw, you came back and took Brian Lara's wicket in a test at West Indies. And even in the last test match, with 11 stitches on your left hand and visible pain on your face, you ran back all the way to take a fantastic catch to dismiss the last man... These are qualities that Indians don't normally see even in the other great cricketers of this era who prefer to sit inside the dressing room with the slightest of injuries.
  • Above all, you have been a gentleman in this era of the over-the-top Harbhajans and the perennially vocal Australians. A gentleman, and a thorough professional. Be it when you were a player, or when you were the captain. And the game of cricket needed people like you to balance out the ruffians in the game...
Hats off to you Kumble, please do take a well deserved rest now. And let all of us hope the next generation of spinners has at least one of your kind... Some day maybe...

1 comment:

liNkkhi said...

so true. One actually felt sad when he decided to leave.

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