He does not know what ‘give up’ means” – Rahul Dravid

On his “turning the ball skills”, he once said to Prem Panicker, “The difference between the middle of the bat and the edge is one inch.” Only an engineer, and a good one at that, would know the significance of one inch.

But the great injustice to this gentleman is summed up by the Great Bong

It is said that people recognize the worth of their teeth after they are gone.

Maybe we as a nation will do the same with respect to Kumble.

Over the 18 years, I have many memories, I will mention one

Antigua, May 2002 – Those were the days when I would be attached to the TV start to finish, even if it was a boring test match draw. Tea time on Day 3 of the 4th test in the series. India time, it was way past the Cinderella Hour. One was groggy with sleep while trying to find some hint of excitement in a dead match. I don’t remember the cricket commentary, so I am using Cricinfo’s archived ball-by-ball to recreate the moment.

 

There is some bad news for the Indians, Anil Kumble’s West Indies tour is over. The X-rays have confirmed the fracture to his lower jaw, he will need a surgery to fix it, this is going to keep him out of cricket for a while.

End of over 45 (2 runs) West Indies 123/2 (trail by 390 runs)
J Srinath 15-4-35-0 (2nb) – Pavilion End
BC Lara 1* (4b) RR Sarwan 21* (64b 2×4)

This is amazing – Anil Kumble braving a fractured jaw has come out to bowl. Straight away – Kumble to bowl.

45.1 Kumble to Lara, no run, pushes it through, beats the bat first up – outside the off.
45.2 Kumble to Lara, no run, gives the ball a little more air, defended.
45.3 Kumble to Lara, one run, driven down the ground to deep mid-off. Kumble has his jaw all strapped up – doesn’t look good.
45.4 Kumble to Sarwan, no run, forward in defence.
45.5 Kumble to Sarwan, no run, quicker through the air, forward in defence.
45.6 Kumble to Sarwan, FOUR, long hop, outside the off, Sarwan shows no mercy, powerful square cut for four.

 

Here is a man who is to fly home and go on the surgeon’s table to fix the broken jaw. Is he really being brave?

51.3 Kumble to Lara, OUT: Kumble strikes! Lara shuffles across, rapped on the pads, loud shout for lbw, Shepherd nods and then puts up his finger!

61.5 Kumble to Hooper, no run, straighter delivery pitched in line with the stumps, Hooper moves forward to play, the ball hits the pads in line with the off stump, huge appeal for LBW turned down!

63.4 Kumble to Hooper, (noball) no run, great delivery, on the middle, Hooper leans forward to defend, the ball hits the golves and goes straight into the hands of Das at forward short leg

The final over of the day.
71.1 Kumble to Sarwan, no run, outside the off, defended.
71.2 Kumble to Sarwan, no run, forward in defence.
71.3 Kumble to Sarwan, no run, bowling around the stumps, well tossed up, defended.
71.4 Kumble to Sarwan, no run, slow turn from outside the leg, played down easily.
71.5 Kumble to Sarwan, no run, angling in from outside the leg, defended.
71.6 Kumble to Sarwan, no run, well tossed up, played back down the track.

Kumble’s figures read: 14-5-29-1

Harsha Bhogle was the TV commentator and the only thing I still remember is him talking about how bizarre it was and that it was simply difficult to commentate because everyone’s throat simply choked up.

Moving On

The present team really came into place in 2000-01 after the match fixing scandal ripped apart the Indian cricket establishment. Since then, we have won test matches in all the test playing countries, except New Zealand. We have won series in England, West Indies and Pakistan, we have leveled series in England and Australia. There are frontiers yet to be won – winning a series in Australia, in Sri Lanka, in South Africa. 

From the way it is going, these frontiers will have to be breached by the next generation under Dhoni. Maybe Sachin will be there, but looks like he will be a lonely man. And I hope the young guns like Rohit Sharma and S Badrinath grow up to their potential and help him out. If not, we will be going back to the ’90s when the Indian cricket team seemed to revolve around Sachin. 

So thank you Anil Bhai. Thank you Dada (see my earlier post).

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