Anil Kumble: The Last Samurai

Tanvir Khan

“Success is 99 percent perspiration…. 1 percent inspiration.” This is how Thomas Alva Edison defines the term ‘Genius’. Anil Kumble is one cricketer who fits into Edison’s definition indisputably.

How many bowlers have bowled 72 overs in a Test innings? Who has come to the rescue of his team and played with a broken jaw? He is none other than Anil Kumble. No bowler in history has won India more Test matches than Anil Kumble, and there probably hasn`t been a harder trier either.

It is said, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Despite his face being heavily taped in a Test against the West Indies, the selfless cricketer that he is, he stepped forward and prised out the invaluable wicket of Brian Lara.

He has been criticised. He has not been given his due. He has remained the unsung hero of the Indian cricket team. There were times when people asked questions over his bowling making mockery and asked whether he was a spin bowler or a medium pacer. But Anil Radhakrishna Kumble kept taking it all in his stride.

The mature, intelligent and committed and tireless ‘Jumbo’ knew he was there to stay and the leggie lived up to his potential to answer all critics with his unorthodox style. He relies on precision more than on big turns.

The ultimate aim of a bowler is to take wickets so as to guide his team to victory over the opposition. And that is what Anil Kumble, the maestro does best - send the opposition line-up to the pavilion for a better view of the match proceedings from the VIP lounge.

Although often criticized as not a big turner of the ball, Kumble is the third highest wicket taker of all times behind Sri Lanka spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan and retired Australian genius Shane Warne. Kumble recently overhauled the 600 wicket mark when he had Andrew Symonds caught at first slip into the safe hands of Rahul Dravid on the tour Down Under. He is also the leading Indian wicket taker in ODIs. The board is acknowledging this commendable exploit as the BCCI has finally fallen weak before the smiling assassin’s dedication and decided to honour the cricketer’s efforts and his contribution to the game of cricket.

This man has sustained himself in this very demanding international arena of cricket for over 17 years. He made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka in 1990 and later played his first Test against England in the same year. He went on piling up record after record, one of them being the fastest 50 wickets in Tests (10 matches) by an Indian, which still remains undefeated. He is also the second fastest in terms of taking 100 wickets (21 Tests) only next to Erapalli Prasanna. And at The Oval he chalked up what, judging by the pure ecstasy of his reaction and the dressing room`s, was perhaps his most cherished feat of all - a Test century that had been 17 years and 118 matches in the coming.

Anil Kumble is the only Indian bowler in the history of cricket to clinch 10 wickets in an innings of a match. He achieved this unassailable feat against arch-rivals Pakistan at the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium in New Delhi in 1999. He scaled this peak after Jim Laker of England. No third bowler has ever achieved this particular landmark.

His deliveries are quite fast by the standards of a spinner, in fact as fast as ‘Jumbo’ jet, as described by his colleagues. His team mates also observed his big feet which got the spin maverick the nickname Jumbo.

Moving on, Anil Kumble was handed the captaincy of the Indian cricket team in Tests after his state team mate Rahul Dravid decided to step down from the post. He led the country to a 1-0 win in the three-Test home series against Pakistan - first home triumph against Pakistan in 27 years. Then the infamous Australian tour happened which Kumble handled with utmost maturity. Though the series was won by Australia, his leadership knack won accolades from the analysts of the game.

The awards conferred to Anil Kumble also speak much of the uncompromising player. He was bestowed with the prestigious Arjuna Award in 1995. Kumble was one of the Wisden Cricketers of the year in 1996. In 2005, the Government of India presented him with the Padma Shri.

No words can ever do justice to the hard work and dedication that this perfectionist puts on the field. Without a question he fits into the bracket of this gentleman’s game.

He has decided to bow out gracefully from the game. The game that he has served for over 18 years. He will be missed by the cricketing fraternity, undoubtedly.

Peter Roebuck, one of the most well-known columnists and former cricketer, says, "Curiously, Kumble has little in common with his two great contemporaries, Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan. They relied on excess, spinning the ball ferociously and able, by sleight of hand, to fool batsmen into playing at thin air. They created error by destroying hope. Kumble more closely resembles Glenn McGrath because he does not so much baffle batsmen, as torture them with precisely-pitched deliveries. Like the Australian, he does not tear opponents apart, just works away methodically till the deed has been done. Apparently he is an engineer, but he belongs in the courts of law as an inquisitor."

Whether Peter’s assessment of Anil Kumble is spot on is for the posterity to decide. But what is YOUR view on this home grown genius? Tell us…


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great reader of the game anil served the gentleman`s game with distinction   Dr. Cajetan Coelho- If you want this message to be blocked, Please alert the moderator.
a tireless trier   sumeet aggarwal- jalandhar If you want this message to be blocked, Please alert the moderator.
he is one of the best bowler of india   Kunal- If you want this message to be blocked, Please alert the moderator.
Mr.Anil is true sportsman. He has done a lot for India as well as for Karnataka. We INDIANS will never forget you. All the best for your future.   IQBAL MANI- RIYADH-SAUDI ARABIA If you want this message to be blocked, Please alert the moderator.
Its a very sad day for whole INDIA that one of the greatest cricketer has said bye to international cricket.What I like in Anil Kumble is that he is very cool and calm person with so much of patience and very much hunger for wicket.And i trully admire his decision to retire as he himself thought time has come to say bye.So I salute you man for seving INDIA for last 18 years.My all the best wishes for your future life.   Birendra Kumar Rana- Chennai If you want this message to be blocked, Please alert the moderator.
Dear Anil ,You have made we Indians Proud by your Bold and Beutiful Cricket ypou have Played.We salute you whole heartedly all the best   Deshpremi - Mumbai If you want this message to be blocked, Please alert the moderator.
one of the most hard working, thinking, dedicated cricketer.   Abhay- Bangalore If you want this message to be blocked, Please alert the moderator.
well..this is the end of an era...what a man jumbo has been!!a true genius..i simply salute his commitment..and wish him all the best for his upcoming life..   Saurabh - Allahabad,India If you want this message to be blocked, Please alert the moderator.
they were talking of jim laker,but we dint see those greats but we saw anil kumble man who started as underated leg spinner and man who went to equal laker will done anil you are urnament to the game samantha algama former media manager srilanka cricket   samantha algama- colombo If you want this message to be blocked, Please alert the moderator.
We Indians are lucky to have Kumble. U made us proud, just like our soldiers. Hats off to you JUMBO. We will miss you.   sunil shetty- Dubai If you want this message to be blocked, Please alert the moderator.
i totally agree with the statement that mr. amil kumble is a true gentleman   abhishek- bhubaneswar If you want this message to be blocked, Please alert the moderator.
Kumble appears to be a greater human being than a cricketer. His cricketing statistics will then show you how good a cricketer he was.   Shibu Chacko- Abu Dhabi If you want this message to be blocked, Please alert the moderator.
A true champion is what kumble is . I wish him good luck for the future . Also I think this is the right time for Dhoni to step in and take indian cricket forward   Vivek Sharma- New Delhi If you want this message to be blocked, Please alert the moderator.
Greatest spinner of Indian cricket history,his contribution to Indian cricket will be remembered by generations. his retirement has come at the right time.good luck to him for future   Abhinaw kumar- Munger If you want this message to be blocked, Please alert the moderator.
He is a fantastic cricket and gentle,nice,and calm cricketer.   Manoj Antony- Kerala If you want this message to be blocked, Please alert the moderator.
You wii never know what is coming next from his hand.This was another gugly on which he clean bowled the whole nation. Kumble I solute YOU. you were really amazing on and off the field.you were a great ambassedor for indian cricket. You are a genious in real sense. BEst of Luck for ur future, Whole nation will miss you on cricket field   Rajesh K Bhardwaj- Batari,Shimla(H.P.) If you want this message to be blocked, Please alert the moderator.
jambo the great!!! we will remember you forever!! goodbye & goodluck for your future   madhav diwan- latur (maharashtra), India If you want this message to be blocked, Please alert the moderator.
Thanks to a Great Son of India for contributing so much to our nation. We salute you and respect your decision. The nation shall always remember your great contribution.   Jiten & Family- USA If you want this message to be blocked, Please alert the moderator.
He is one of the finest bowler in the History of Indian Cricket. Since 1992 till today, the win in Test Matches and ODI, each and every win contributed by Kumble by his bowling (typical), we miss him so much.   Salman Khan- Dubai If you want this message to be blocked, Please alert the moderator.
He is one of the greatest crickter we have seen. We are quite fortunate to see him bowl. I salute to his calibre, determination, fighting spirit and cricketing knowledge. a true gentleman, Jumbo we love you.   Anil Satapathy- Noida If you want this message to be blocked, Please alert the moderator.
We will proud of you of being a great cricketer and a great sportman spirit seen in you..we feel sad on this day we will miss u to see again in international matches..we wish you all the best and good wishes for your future.   Maxy Rosario- Mumbai If you want this message to be blocked, Please alert the moderator.