A tribute to the lion-hearted legend – Anil Kumble
Generally bowlers never get the fancy the batsmen get in the world cricket. The only bowler who changed that perception in me was Anil Kumble. If Sachin was the flag bearer of Indian cricket in 1990s, then Anil Kumble proved he is the champion bowler on whom which any Indian captain can depend from the time he sealed his place in the Indian line-up.
Kumble – the bowler:
Kumble’s bowling is not about guile or flight of the delivery but the little variations and the bounce he got off the pitch made him really lethal. But being a person who changed from a fast bowler to be a spinner this won’t be surprising but what’s really the surprising thing is his never wavering accuracy. He has broken the perceptions of the purists who always thought that a spinner should always spin the ball in a bigger way.
Be it one-day cricket or test cricket he is the go to man for the Indian captains. I have seen many a times where he comes into bowl within the 15 overs in ODIs not an ideal time which a spinner prefers. But he liked the challenges and most of the time he succeeded in it. His economy rate in ODIs speaks for himself which is @ 4.30 still one of the worlds best for a spinner.
Man of Records:
He never played for records but it seemed like records chased him like anything. And the crown jewel in his record books is the 10 wicket haul in an innings against Pakistan in Delhi. It was a long time Indian team lost a home series and Pakistan after winning the first test were going strong in the 2nd innings chasing 420 runs and all it needed was some 26 overs from Kumble to clean up the Pakistan batsmen and win a match for India which he often does. He was almost in the all the Indian bowling records from highest test wicket taker to highest ODI wicket taker.
Time passed away just to show how great this man was at heart. In 2002, Anil bhai was hit on the jaw the 3rd day by a West Indian and his jaw was broken. But when everybody thought he is out of that game, he came on the next day to sent down 14 overs continuously and also picked the wicket of Brian Lara. And when people asked why he came out to bowl again, his reason was simple:
I didn’t want to sit around
So that says a lot about his grit, determination and hunger for wickets. After all the grit, determination and the best he has given and shown on that painful day, he said that only. He is a captain’s delight and which captain won’t like to have him in the side. And what’s more inspiring sight for his teammates is required to pull up their socks to perform better. If there is a word lionheart suits anybody in this world it should be first given to him.
Then came a slump in his career which almost shut the door for him in the ODI squad and Harbhajan emerged as the frontline spinner for India in both ODIs and tests. But the ever confident Kumble came back strong with lot of more variations and determination to put an end to all kind of doubts on his ability. He was also unfairly cricticized for his poor record in overseas where the pitch suits seam bowling more than the spin bowling but he answered them not by words but by wickets.If Indian team won their first win in England and Australia then he played a big part in everything.
Kumble – The boss:
The captaincy was always given to him at the time he has least expected to get it. Be it the Indian captaincy or in the IPL for RCB he was given the job when they had nobody to give and response from him is always top class. He led the team with lot of dignity in the tour of Australia after some forgetful happenings in the 2nd test. And when Kumble took the captaincy of RCB, the team was in dire straits he picked up the performances every member of the team, led from the front and RCB marched to the 2nd spot in that edition of IPL.
Time passes away but some men and their responsibilities still remains the same. Kumble is doing the same for RCB which he has done to India, ‘taking the challenges and bowling at the time when team needs him to’. This year he has been outstanding foxing the batsmen with his variations and still showing who the boss is.
My Personal favorite moments:
One of the interesting battles between bat and ball I have seen was between Attapattu and Kumble in the second test between India and Srilanka in 2005, when Srilankans toured India. Kumble was at his peak and he was all over Srilankan batsmen. But Attapattu stood firm against him by keep on coming down the wicket to negotiate the variations of Kumble. Kumble outthought him by sending in a short and slower delivery which stopped at Attapattu who checked the shot at the last minute after coming down the wicket only to see Kumble pouncing on the ball like a tiger to catch it.
One of the most underrated things in the cricket world is Kumble’s ability to bat. He is a perfect test player who can defend the ball perfectly like a regular batsman and his 100 at the twilight of his career has shown the hard work he has put towards his batting. But the most memorable match for me is the win in the titan cup against Australia when he and Srinath won the match from nowhere. Another special thing about that match is that it happened in Bangalore and his mother was all smiles and really proud.
But his greatness lies beyond his cricket. I have never seen a true gentleman than him on the cricket field who always took the wickets with his deliveries which is not assisted by foul mouthing the batsmen. He is calm but he is firm. He respected cricket and the cricket world respects him.
The road to legendary has not been such an easy task for him but he climbed on that mountain by breaking all the criticisms he faced all through his career for not being great spinner of the ball but with the wickets he has taken he just send those words go unheard.
Keep foxing the batsmen Anil bhai, I love seeing that because your criticizers also gets foxed by you when they see it. I know you will do that.
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