Thursday, 17 January 2008

Saluting Anil Kumble: The humble genius on his 600 wickets

For 18 years Anil Kumble, the present Indian cricket captain, has been almost the lone warrior for India.
Though the trinity of Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, hogged all the limelight in the 90s. The truth is that the bespectacled Kannadiga has played the most vital role in securing dozens of victories, especially in the Tests.

Without Kumble India could never have got the opposition teams bowled out in two innings of a single test. This great spinner had arrived on the scene when the legendary Kapil Dev's career was in his twilight.

Pacers like Manoj Prabhakar spearheaded the Indian attack. There was no penetrative frontline speedster. And the age of the Spin Quatret of Bishan Singh Bedi, Erapallai Prasanna, Chandrashekhar and Venkataraghvan had become a forgotten story.

But this unusual leg-spinner who had little variation began to weave magic on the opposition batsmen. Through out the nineties, almost all Indian test wins under Mohammad Azharuddin were courtesy Anil Kumble, who inspired the other spinners like Venkatapathy Raju and Rajesh Chouhan, and later Harbhajan Singh, made every visiting team fear the Indian team.

Along with Shane Warne and Murlitharan, Anil Kumble complets the great trio of spinners, a new golden age, in world cricket, the kind of which was never seen after the 60s.

The 37 year old Jumbo has his place secured in cricket history for attaining such milestones and winning most test matches for India with his bowl. His simplicity is a lesson for cricketers of today's generation.

In 1999, he had taken all 10 wickets in an innings against Pakistan in Delhi test. He also has a century to his name in international test cricket. His graceful conduct during the recent controversy involving Ricky Ponting and Andrew Symonds, has earned me enormous respect.

If India wins the Perth Test, it will add another feather to his cap. He still has a couple years of cricket left in him. The Bangalore born Kumble is a thinking man, who is among the rare present day cricketers who have ensured that Cricket still remains the gentleman's game.

We salute Anil Kumble for his contribution to India and world cricket.

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