A sensitive topic from me to write about this time round
It is about the retirement of the greatest leg-spinners of the world – Anil Kumble. I happened to see the finals of the Hero Cup way back in 1992 or 1993. It was then that my interest in cricket was beginning to show up. There was this one person who did exceedingly well in the then Calcutta. It was a person from my own city, my school supposedly and garnering national glory. Since then there was no looking back. If there was a reason for me to watch cricket, other than Sachin Tendulkar (then) of course, it was the strong Karnataka contingent in the Indian bowling squad. Srinath and Kumble were the two pall-bearers for the Indian bowling, later to be joined by Venkatesh Prasad. There were three others who did make a mark – Doddanarasaih Ganesh, Sunil Joshi and David Johnson, but were soon overshadowed by other bowlers.
Anil Kumble was a person that couldn’t be paralleled by, yet Shane Warne – another legendary spinner was probably the only person that he could be compared to at that time.
The two bowlers – Srinath and Kumble made me watch cricket, or in other words as in the Coca-Cola ad then – Eat cricket and Sleep cricket. The 1996 World cup in the Indian sub-continent was a showcase for them. I still remember the time I used to write captions from the ads then on my cricket bat, and stick the cricketers’ stickers on my bat. I used to think, these guys would play for India forever! How I wish it was true! I also happened to see him once for a school sports' day function. He was really polite and humble!
A 10-wkt haul is something that every bowler would dream of. But not many achieve it. This great spinner was the only one in 50 years to achieve it. His last test was at the same venue he achieved it, what a great way to wrap up an illustrious career. But the only disappointment was that he didn’t have a hat-trick. Also, I guess the BCCI pressure must have forced him to call it quits from the tests.
In lighter vein, for people who don't know him too, the Anil Kumble Circle (on MG Road near BRV) should strike a thought in their mind :)
Kumble's circket will be missed by everyone, and by one of the many fans who watched cricket solely for the competitiveness and by the people who played for the team and not for themselves.
(Incidentally, cricket these days doesn’t interest me much, after the match-fixing scandal and the neglect shown to the game by the cricketer’s after getting brand endorsements!)
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