18 years of international cricket, a 132 test matches, 619 test wickets, we can go on and on with the stats about a player of kumble’s stature, but what really separates jumbo from the rest is his persistence and determination to do well for his team.
we will never forget the incident in the antigua test where we saw him spitting blood on the cricket field after being hit by a bouncer and when later he came out to bowl with a broken jaw,his head and jaw all wrapped up in bandages because of the injury,the grit and determination shown by him is very rarely seen in any other sportsman.
be it the historic kotla test in 1999 against pakistan when he hit the bull’s eye with a perfect ten,only the second bowler to do so in the history of the game,or the moment when he reachd his maiden test hundred in the oval test,the glrious scenes are etched in the minds of the indain cricket fans forever.
but the irony of indian cricket is that inspite of so many good performances consistently for such a long period of time,he has never got the kind of praise he deserved.
sachin,saurav and dravid have been the stars of indain cricket for the past decade or so,even when it came to getting the test captaincy after ganguly,rahul dravid was preffered to him inspite of being less experienced,and it took dravids resignation during the toughest times of indian cricket for the captaincy to be handed over to him
even while he was out of the game for about a year with a shoulder injury,kumble did not sit at home,instead he took up the players’ representation over the contracts issue with the board in 2002 and solved the matter
he has always faced criticism about his different bowling style and the lack of spin his deliveries take,but the fact remains that he has answered his critics everytime with unmatched performnaces and a steely resolve.
a recent run of injuries and bad form coupled with his age led him to take this decision of retiring from the game,and as everyone is saying,maybe this is the right decision at the right time.the mantle of captaincy is in the safe hands of MS DHONI and the spin brigade will be lead by bhajji,with others like mishra and chawla showing great potential.
after all the controversy and allegations on him by the media its good to see that even the indian media is supporting this decision, lets bid farewell to one of the best spinners this game has ever seen,a true champion and the unsung hero of indian cricket..anil kumble