To start, let me concede that I am not a die-hard Anil Kumble fan. And I still believe that Carl Hooper can turn the ball more than him. But this post is not about his turning the ball, but it’s about his never-say-die spirit (Now Antigua is going to be the most favourite tourist destination of Indians) , and the connection that I have with him which I value and honour the most!
How many of actually remember watching India in a live test/one-day match before Kumble made his debut? The reasons can be varied: Lack of TVs or we were too small to understand (Clichéd on the lines of: Too big to fail). And almost all of us grew along with Anil Kumble’s career. And that’s why we don’t feel as much connected with, say, Murali Karthik or Piyush Chawla as we feel connected to Anil Kumble.
For a moment, I had thought that Matthew Hayden will honour Kumble’s last ball by defending it with utmost respect. Of course had someone else been batting he would have even gifted wicket purposefully to Kumble, but defending the ball was the expectation from a Professional bull like Matthew Hayden. And he might have made up his mind to defend also. But seeing the full toss ball, Hayden must have remembered the words of his childhood coach to treat it accordingly, and he had no option but to dispatch it. At least there is honour in the fact, that the last shot that was played against Anil Kumble was a mesmerizing straight drive and not the ugly slog-sweep that is Hayden’s first love, even before his wife.
And last but not the least, Anil Kumble and most of us will have sleepless nights, pondering over the questions like:
Did he announce retirement at very short notice? May be
Was he indirectly pressurized by media to retire? May be
Did he take Dilip Vengsarkar’s words too seriously? May be
Anil Kumble could actually announce his retirement while playing. He could receive a stand of honour and farewell lap across the ground.
Imagine the plight of 2 W’s of Pakistan and so many other players who had to announce their retirement in press conference and not while playing!
And that’s the ultimate reason why all of us should sleep in peace!