Sunday, November 2, 2008

Kumble's Exit : Inevitable But Sad

All good things eventually do come to an end. The news of Kumble's retirement that was announced this afternoon during the course of final day's play at Kotla was not exactly unexpected. It was clearly a news waiting to happen. Those who followed Australia's first innings batting must have seen Kumble's exaggerated exaltation as he claimed three lower order wickets. Three tests without troubling any top order batsman had clearly alarmed him. As it turned out, he himself revealed that he had made his decision on Saturday itself!

Playing international sport for nearly two decades with great distinction is certainly not every one's cup of tea. Anil Kumble's on field achievements are extra-ordinary no doubt. But his modest and dignified off the field behaviour is what will be missed in today's age where more and more sportsmen - even Indians - are frequently in the spotlight more for their tantrums than their performances on the ground.

Ironically despite taking nearly a thousand international wickets, Kumble never got a nod of approval from the game's purists as a top class spinner. He was all the while criticised for not having classical leg spinner's attributes. But never mind he won most matches for India than the famous spin quartet in seventies.

As the one day cricket started becoming poular, a spinner was feared as endangered species, three Cricketers Warne, Kumble and Murali revived the art of spin bowling. Ironically again, Kumble is not regarded in the same breath as the other two. This is probably because the controversies surrounding the other two - On field ones around Murali and off field ones around Warne!

When great men retire they leave behind a great vacuum. Fortunately for India the void created by Kumble's departure is ready to filled in. Captaincy reigns are ready to be taken over by MS Dhoni who has already proved his leadership qualities. Kumble's legspinning legacy is well and truly rested with the likes of Amit Mishra, Piyush Chawla and Chaitanya Nanda. Having said that, it is hard to find a person with the same integrity, same application and same fierece competitive spirit as Anil Kumble brought to Indian dressing room. A sad day for Indian Cricket indeed!

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