Anil Kumble:India's own smiling assassin  

Posted by Praveen in , ,

It came as a bolt in the blue. And it was the shortest interval between a retirement announcement and the actual retirement. Kumble, India's greatest ever test bowler bid adieu to the stage which he has graced for 18 long years. His debut against England at old Trafford coincided with Sachin's maiden test hundred. From that day, he has grown in stature to such a level that he can safely be called "the Sachin of bowling". The critics, whose job most of the time is to concentrate on the negative side of anything, haven't been too kind to him when they accused him of not being a genuine spinner. His straight deliveries lacking spin won him the name 'a spinner who doesn't spin the ball'. But most of them conveniently forget that its these very own straighter ones that scalped 100s of rival wickets and won India many a test match. Infact, he has singlehandedly won more tests for India than any other player ever to have worn the blue cap.

Today, the day started for me with a disgusting comment on Kumble by another retired cricketer craving for the limelight, Dilip Vengsarkar. "Kumble's time is up", thats what he had to say. Also he was accused of having underbowled Amit Mishra. The same man said after the Bangalore test that "An unfit Kumble is letting the team down". That was only the 3rd occasion in his 132 tests that Kumble went wicketless. Vengsarkar would do well to dust up his old records and check in how many matches he was out for nought. He should also check in how many matches he scored a century(equivalent to a 5-wicket haul) and then use his fingers to count the number of matches he won singlehandedly. You can't expect him to take 10 tickets in every other test match. When you have a long career, off days are bound to happen.
A test century at last-in his 118th test..a perfect picture for the slogan "Never give up"

Its poetic justice that he bids goodbye in the very own ground where he scripted one of the Golden chapters of Indian cricket taking all 10 wickets in an innnings. Ferozshah Kotla is his own ground, even more than his home ground Chinnaswamy. But it was sad that in his last match he didn't shine as expected. The last ball he bowled, a low full toss which was promptly despatched to the boundary by Hayden, was not quite a fitting end to a glorious career. When he announced his retirement this afternoon, the whole cricketing fraternity expressed its shock. He was expected to carry on atleast till the series against England. No one expected him to announce his retirement on the last day of a test match. But the injury to his finger made sure that he won't play the Nagpur test. And Kumble decided it was time to take the decision. Its a heartening fact that we've a great captain in Dhoni to take us to the future. But, we'll miss a match winning bowler, the void left by whom will be hard to fill. Amit Mishra is a good prospect as was evident in the previous test at Mohali but these are still early days for him to be compared with 'the smiling assassin'.
Kumble bowling with a broken jaw in West Indies

Nicknamed 'Jumbo' for his over sized feet and his deliveries which are too fast for a spinner, Kumble was a great statesman who conducted well on the field and never got into a spat with anybody on field. His calm comment "only one team played in the right spirit of the game", after the infamous Sydney test match is an example of this man's character. Any other captain would've lashed out with harsh words but this simple sentence was enough to convey the message. He played with great determination and had a 'jumbo size' heart. And it is this very heart that enabled him to work on his batting and score a century in his 118th test. Now, no one has scored his first century as late in his career as Kumble. And last week he completed 2500 runs in test cricket too. No mean achievement that. His 6 for 12 against West Indies at home, about 15 years back, is still unsurpassed in Indian cricket. The look on his eyes as he closes in to deliver the ball can pierce through any batsman. We all stood up and applauded when he came on to bowl with a broken jaw bounded with a big bandage against West Indies, some summers back. That one incident encapsulates what Kumble is. A sportsperson par excellence, an epitome of determination and an icon of fairplay. Kumble, Indian cricket and its diehard fans like will miss you. Take a bow, one final time...
one from my cam-when Kumble visited our campus

PS-I make it a point never to write 2 consecutive posts related to the same subject. But this time I had to do it as this was unexpected. More posts on this subjectt will come soon with most of my favourite cricketers set to retire in the coming days.


your crusader Praveen

This entry was posted on Sunday, November 02, 2008 at Sunday, November 02, 2008 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Kumble is the perfect gentlemen in the so called gentleman's game. The aussies should learn something from people like Kumble and Sachin. His retirement announcement came as such a shock and his explanation for that showed how selfless he is. Loved the way the players carried him throughout the ground showing their love for him.

7:01 PM

A sportsperson par excellence, an epitome of determination and an icon of fairplay.
what more should I say??
brilliant write up for a brillant man. I love you Anil :)ever :)

7:52 PM

that picture of him with that bandaid,still gives me goosebumps..

and that 52 run stand with srinath to defeat the aussies... how can i forget that

8:06 PM

A great tribute to the smiling assassin! A player par excellence truly! The stuff great people are made of! :)

9:57 PM

The news was horrible..I'm still a bit shaken to post up.

10:12 PM

Indeed, the retirement announcement was a bolt from the blue! And, as you mention, that in itself shows the maturity and stature of the man! He did not want, I am sure, people discussing the whys and wherefores of a decision that was his alone to take, and having taken it, very calmly and with the least amount of fuss, delivered it with the graciousness that is him!

Shall miss seeing his lanky frame on the ground for sure! But he will ever be an inspiration to the younger ones, especially on how to carry oneself, conduct oneself, and play with grit and determination! No one else could lead by example, the way he has, right through his career. Seeing him doff his faded blue Indian Cap brought a lump to the throat as he did his final victory lap around the Kotla!

God Bless you Anil, and may you ever inspire by being just you!! You will be missed, and you will always be looked up to, for the fine Gentleman and Player you have always been!

10:19 PM

Yes..tht was such a touching scene..


oh yeah..i 4got to mention that knock with srinath.. I still remember the whole family cheering after the match..


even I was shaken, but somehow managed this post

that was the a retirement carried out with the least amount of fuss as u rightly mentioned

12:09 AM

lion's heart...
leopard's agility...
true sportsman...
wonderful gentleman...


Adios to India's greatest spinner!

1:13 AM

i just wanna say this wasn't a very good end of a superb fast all happened It actually shocked me...

I am sad ..but wat can be done...Performance is above all these a way its kindaa true too

6:43 AM

Good 'un bro'... Thankfully, there was no déjà-vu (I refer to Kapil-paajis sacking...) this time around.

In a way, Kumbles retirement brings memories of Alan Donald... (One of my all-time favs) Again, thanks to injury...

And as far as Mr. Vengsarkar is concerned. Well, if I say what is in my mind... it will tarnish this space...


11:23 PM

ലോകമെമ്പാടുമുള്ള 1000കണക്കിന്‌ മലയാളീകളെ കണ്ടെടുക്കുക

നിങ്ങള്‍ ആഗ്രഹിക്കുന്നുവെങ്കില്‍ നമുക്ക് ഒന്നായി ചേര്‍ന്ന് ഒറ്റ സമൂഹമായി ഒരു കുടക്കീഴില്‍ അണിചേര്‍ന്നിടാം. നിങ്ങളുടെ ചിന്തകളും വികാരങ്ങളും പരസ്പരം പങ്കു വയ്ക്കാന്‍ ആഗ്രഹിക്കുന്നുവോ ? ദയവായി ഇവിടെ ക്ലിക് ചെയ്യുക

ഇതിന്‌ ഒപ്പമായി മലയാളീകളുടെ കൂട്ടായ്മയും ഇവിടെ വീക്ഷിക്കാം

1:23 PM

His retirement announcement came as a shock.. he still has 2-3 years cricket in him!! A great tribute to him mate!!!

8:47 AM

very good post - but then for me all pro-kumble posts are good posts:-)

kumble's performance statistics will live longer than the snide remarks of people of vengsarkar's ilk - so let's forget him and his mumbai lobby.

cant wait for dada to retire and come out with his memoirs. am sure the mumbai lobby is shaking in its boots.

2:39 AM

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