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When Kumble`s "arrogance" fired Mortaza

St John`s (Antigua), March 31: A huge fan of Anil Kumble for his humility and dignity, Bangladesh pacer Mashrafee Mortaza says a casual statement "embedded with arrogance" by the leg-spinner fired him up for the World Cup encounter against India.

Mortaza recalls a meeting with Kumble, who retired from ODI cricket yesterday, at Hotel Hilton in Port of Spain, earlier this month before the quadrennial event was to get

India and Bangladesh, along with Bermuda and Sri Lanka, were in Group B and were based in the same hotel. It was there that Mortaza chanced upon Kumble once and struck a

Mortaza admitted that he admired India`s highest wicket-taker`s tendency to shun spotlight. So, it came as a shock to him when Kumble casually told him that the Indians were a bit worried about not getting enough time between the World Cup and the tour to Bangladesh.

The final of the World Cup is on April 28 while India`s tour to Bangladesh starts from May 7.

"Kumble`s statement almost implied that they expected India to reach the final of the 2007 World Cup. He didn`t say it to spite us but I was struck by the arrogance embedded in the statement. Here the tournament was still to begin and Indians were already expecting a berth in the final," Mortaza recalled.

Mortaza said Kumble`s comment spurred him to do well in the group match, which Bangladesh won by seven wickets to stun the Indians who failed to recover and made an embarrassing
first round exit from the showpiece event.

"It certainly fired me. It was as if Bangladesh was seen just as a punching bag for big boys to move forward. I was determined to prove him wrong," recalled Mortaza.

Bureau Report