Saturday, January 8, 2011

So long and thanks for all the wickets

This week Anil Kumble retired from all forms of cricket. The event passed without me getting much time to reflect on it, thanks to a hectic work schedule. But reading this article by Sidvee got me thinking about this colossus of a cricketer and just share an incident with you.
A couple of years ago, Kumble was the Chief Guest at the Excellence Awards Function of my company. With me being in Mangalore those days, I was watching it on a large screen via video conference. And when his turn came to speak, he was asked the usual questions about his career, cricket in general, excellence and so on. And while I don't remember the exact words, he gave a lovely comparison of Sachin's career and his own.
He said that throughout Sachin's career he has had the challenge of proving the pundits right. And throughout his own career, he has had the challenge of proving the critics wrong. And both of them had succeeded in doing that.
I thought it was wonderfully put across. Just think about it. Sachin Tendulkar came to the cricket scene as a child prodigy who was destined to rule the cricket world. He has done it and continues to do so. Kumble however was the man, who was written off even before he started for his unorthodox action, lack of turn etc etc. However he went on to become India's greatest match winner in test cricket.
For a man who apparently could not spin the ball, he got a fair number of wickets. It's hard to pinpoint the moment when he first captured my imagination but I think the Hero Cup Final against the West Indies at Eden Gardens where he got 6/12 probably did the trick and made me a fan. Forever.
Since then it has been a pleasure of following his career. And along with all the cricketing pleasure of seeing him take all those wickets, and even score a test century or be involved in the odd match winning partnership; for the cricket fan in me it has been a character building journey of following a man who epitomised determination, perseverance and patience.
Thank You Anil Kumble.

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