(Image Courtesy: cricinfo.com)
This blog post is for a contest on Blogadda.com, I'd stay content just with this tribute to the greatest leg-spinners ever in the world of cricket. (I'd definitely love to win the nice memorabilia, though!) I will borrow liberally from my previous post, but will definitely have new stuff.
Though Anil Kumble, a fellow Bangalorean, debuted in 1990 in international cricket, it was during the 1993 Hero Cup final against West Indies at Kolkata (then Calcutta), where he had an unbeatable bowling spell of 6/12 (Courtesy: Neil), that I noticed this legend. That was actually the first match that I watched enthusiastically, religiously and there was no looking back until 2003. That bowling spell could probably not be bettered by any bowler then or now, and still remains one of the finest bowling performances ever.
For a nine-year old in me then, Anil became an inspiration to strive hard and achieve the best in life. A young lad from my own city garnering national and international glory and fame was a moment of pride for all of us. He also happens to be be from the same school I studied (I believe he studied till 7th Std), and that's another trivial link I will always treasure. I also happened to see him as the Chief Guest for my school's Sports' day function. He was really polite, humble and gave a really 'inspiring' speech! I don't really remember what he spoke in his speech, but I would say that was probably the first speech that I listened to completely!
In his career, Anil has has a series of highs and lows. While he was held at the top for his highs and criticized for his flaws, one can never debate on the fact that, he always played for the team and never was concerned about individual records or personal glory.
Records kept tumbling when Anil was in his best form, and Anil Kumble was the leg-spinner that couldn’t be paralleled by anyone else. Shane Warne – the legendary Australian spinner was probably the only person that he could be compared to at that time.
A 10-wkt haul in a test innings is something that every bowler would dream of getting at least once in his career. However, this great spinner was the only one in 50 years to achieve it and the second person in the history of test cricket. His last test was at the same venue he achieved it (Feroze Shah Kotla grounds, Delhi), what a great way to wrap up an illustrious career which could have lasted way longer than what it actually was, especially seeing his performance in the IPL 2009 and 2010.
He also surpassed Kapil Dev's record of scalping the highest number of wickets in test cricket (434) and went on to join the elite 600 test wickets club along with fellow spinners Muttaih Muralidharan and Shane Warne in January 2008. I believe he is the highest Indian wicket taker in test cricket, and I doubt if any bowler of this generation will surpass that one.
The only disappointment was that he didn’t have a hat-trick in his career. Also, I guess the BCCI pressure late in his career must have forced him to call it quits from the tests. I usually never like to associate cricket or any other game with regionalism or politics, but surely Kumble was indirectly a victim of this and had to play second fiddle to many other under-deserving players in the team then.
In lighter vein, for people who don't know him too, the Anil Kumble Circle (on MG Road near BRV) in Bengaluru should strike a thought in their mind :), of who this man was! Sincerely hope that the Metro Rail construction in Bengaluru doesn't make this landmark disappear.
(Image Courtesy: http://www.royalchallengers.com/player/anil-kumble)
In 2009, I was really happy to see him back in the cricket world in the form of the ever-entertaining IPL. He drove our Royal Challengers Bangalore team into the finals and such was his leadership quality, which was also demonstrated during his short stint as the test caption in 2007-08. From a team that was ranked 7th amongst 8 team in IPL 2008, Anil Kumble has come a great way in charging them to a consistent #2 in the 2010 edition of the IPL. And it will not be wrong if I say, this IPL has re-kindled the cricket-lover in me, and this is all thanks to Anil Kumble.
The two bowlers – Kumble and Srinath 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!
Kumble's cricket (regular first class/ODI) will be missed by everyone, and it is definitely a pleasure seeing him perform in the IPL the past two years, even after retiring. As one of the many fans who watched cricket solely for the competitiveness and the people who played for the team and not for themselves, I bow down to this greatest legend ever.
Mr. Anil Kumble: They don't make cricketers, leaders, gentlemen, and selfless people like you anymore! May God shower the choicest blessings on you!
This entry is posted as a part of the Contest by BlogAdda.com