It is the character of a brave and resolute man not to be ruffled by adversity and not to desert his post
– Author : Cicero
November 2nd 2008 was the last day Anil Kumble bowled for India. Kotla was the venue where he has had unbelievable success and that is where he called it a day. It was in Kotla in 1993 he made his comeback in the Indian team with 13 wickets in an Irani trophy match and since has been Indian Cricket’s biggest pillar. This is the very venue where he picked up the perfect 10 against Pakistan a rare feat so this is where it had to end.
The body through many injuries and years of bowling probably tired and complaining but a heart so brave and young not listening, eventually decided that it was time to listen to the body. The loss of Anil is already being felt. His contribution to Indian cricket is immeasurable and is worth its weight in gold !!! Over the 18 years he played for India he played many roles for the Indian team.
As a Team mate : Anil Kumble as a team man is one whom Ganguly described
“ when the score is 250 for 1 and you are looking around the field, there is always Anil who looks you in the eye and is ready to bowl, no matter what the situation is .” – Sourav Ganguly
In Antigua Anil was hit on his jaw and he had to get pins in his jaw and he was sitting in the dressing room watching. It suddenly seemed that if a spinner came on to bowl India might be able to win. This man gets his head all taped up and comes on to the field to bowl and picks up the wicket of Brian Lara of all people!!!! He bowled 14 overs with a broken jaw and that really speaks volumes of his commitment to the team.
As an Opponent : Steve Waugh summed it up when he said that
“ This man is a amazing, he never tires and keeps coming stronger over after over. The unrelenting accuracy gets to you.” – Steve Waugh
He is one opponent all teams respect and fear, the team meetings are always spent upon discussing how to play Anil Kumble as an inswing bowler and not a leg spinner. Still he has 619 victims who couldn’t still figure him out. Also to be noted is the pressure he created to help wickets at the other end.
As a Skipper : Not many thought Anil was captaincy material, infact he was a stop gap option to save Dhoni from the blushes that might occur in Australia. Anil was to be made the skipper, perhaps even a scape goat, but, Anil has an uncanny characteristic, he doesnt give up.
The team fought but lost in Melbourne, in Sydney India had Australia at the ropes with 70 odd for 5 when Symonds and Gilchrist got together, Symonds nicked Ishant to Dhoni and the nick was as huge as it could get, but Steve Bucknor didnt hear it. 😐 Symonds scored a 160+ and India lost the match in as ugly and as worst a manner possible, it was a heart breaking loss. Teams can wither away from such a stage, to get up and fight from there was seeming unlikely with the team headed for PERTH, the graveyard for teams from the subcontinent.
To galvanise the team from such a low point and not only compete but to beat the World Champions in their own den and to beat them so convincingly was no mean feat, the entire team reflected the steel of Anil. No brilliant individual performances but thorough team work ensured the Aussies were left wounded badly !!!!
The one thing most noticable in Anil’s tenure as Indian teams captain was the intensity the team showed on the field which still remains unmatched. Further proof of Anil’s prowess as a leader of men can be seen from the huge turn around in the fortunes of the Royal Challengers Bangalore team ever since he was handed over the reins of the team last year in South Africa.
Anil Kumble as skipper was most under utilised and we can now only wonder about what could have been !!
As an Indian Cricketer : He is the greatest Indian cricketer till date, unfortunately because Anil is not a batsman we don’t recognize his feats, however he single handedly won more Test Matches for us than anyone else. He made India the fort it was in the 90’s & early 2000. His partners kept changing but he was there through out. Be it his pairing with Maninder Singh, Ravi Shashtri or Rajesh Chauhan, Venkatpathy Raju or Nilesh Kulkarni, or Sairaj Bahutule or Harbhajan this longetivity just tells you how good this cricketer was. . Not to forget his fighting knocks as a batsman and his century at the Oval to top it all.
As a Man : The bravest, the most determined, with resolves of steel, most committed and the most humble at heart is the man that he is. He is so respected as not just a cricketer but also as a very humble human being and that is one of the reason things were taken up so seriously after Sydney when Anil famously said, “ Only one team was playing in the right spirit of the game.” I have never seen the Aussies react, and react in a manner where in they admonished their own team and their own captain.
No subcontinental team has won a Test Match in Perth. But Anil as Captain has a victory there !!!
There are so many highlights in his great cricketing career its impossible to pen them all down in one small piece. Be it the 3-0 whitewash of England in 1993 or the Hero-Cup victory where he bamboozled the Windies. The perfect 10 wickets in Pakistan or the top spinners in Headingly or the googlies in Adelaide and Perth he has been truly amazing over the 18 years he gave to Indian cricket and Indian cricket is forever indebted to the man. For me Anil has been the finest example of an Indian Cricketer who was willing to give his all for the team and fight for the team till his last breath. Anil simply will always be remembered as the Greatest Indian Match Winner Ever !!!!
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