Wednesday, April 14, 2010
A Roar of approval !
(Submitted for the Blogadda-Canvera " Wide Angle" contest) & won !
That his Bangalore team is called Royal Challengers, has nothing to do with it.
That the owners of the team, live life King Size, is totally incidental, and nothing to do with his stature.
The man has always reminded me of noble Mufasa , the Lion King . Who explained life to his son, Simba, saying, " Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures....we are all connected in the great Circle of Life."
The similarity is uncanny. While in this case the son is still too young, the father lives this philosophy, unaware , that, the world looks up to him. Not just in cricket, but Life....
Anil Kumble, is all about balance.
That he began his Cricket at 13, joining a club called Young Cricketers. That he studied when he had to study, graduated with distinction in Mechanical Engineering. That he made his first class debut in 1989, playing against Hyderabad. That he got selected in the India under 19 team. As a right arm leg spinner, who practiced a flipper, throwing a curved backspin Magnusian ball, at batsmen who simply fatigued from the onslaught of accuracy,intelligent variation and bounce. India colors in 1990, and he went from strength to strength, ODI's, tests, and now, back in the IPL.
The second individual in the world after Jim Laker to take 10 wickets in an innings, (against Paksitan, in New Delhi, 1999), he, along with Muthiah Murlitharan and Shane Warne, holds the record for surpassing 600 wickets in test cricket. The former two, who relied on excess, ferocity, misleading tactics, and , as Peter Roebuck said, "created error by destroying hope" , for the batsmen, while Kumble, simply kept the line , length and precision, dedication writ on his determined visage. Precise results from planned precise assaults. An engineer in action, maybe. Balanced in his attack.
Statistics and records are just one aspect of the man.
There are records and records. Where umpires tired of holding up the finger.
And then there are vignettes. Which we hold up today, to show our young.
Kumble, in Antigua, hurt on the jaw, bleeding, returns bandaged (with pins in his jaw) from the pavillion, and bowls his heart out, 14 overs in pain, and gets the wicket of Brian Lara. A team man, to the core. Hurt, dedicated, brave, but always in balance.
Kumble, appointed captain , with Dhoni interning in the wings. They couldn't have chosen better. It was a difficult time, with a difficult series in a difficult country coming up. His friend and colleague from Bangalore had resigned as captain, there were issues. But he lead the only way he knew. With his head, with sincerity, with discipline and intelligence. Knowing what was important . Always in balance.
Kumble sitting at the press conference in Sydney, Australia after Monkeygate. No snarls, no snide comments, no gestures. Just a tough, no-nonsense ,straight look and a line that summed it all up : "There are two teams out there, and only one of them is playing in the spirit of cricket...". And the whole of Australia listened, agreed, chastised their own, and the game, about to get a bad name, remained, in sporting balance.
Kumble, delighted to bits about his 10 wickets in an innings; someone who inspires selfless unheard of actions in fellow bowlers, like Srinath, who after noticing the record a wicket away, deliberately avoided trying to take a wicket, so that the 10th could be Kumble's. Always aware, grateful, happy, balanced.
Kumble, the family man, flying back in the middle of the Pakistan series,a quick trip, to be by the side of his wife, at the birth of his son. And then flying right back, to bowl his Magnusian deliveries at the opposition. A man in balance.
Kumble, the realist , understanding the limitations of an injured little finger, his difficulty in finding his form due to that, declaring his retirement from first class cricket, on the last day of the Delhi test against Australia in 2008. It takes a great man to realize that flying around and getting surgeries was not a solution. And that there was a time and a place for many things in life. All to be finely balanced...
Kumble, who was often seen, in the pavillion, delight writ large on his face, capturing cricketing moments of the unforgettable type on his camera, as the team stood up to applaud some other cricketing God performing in the field. And he himself, coming off the field in his last Test, chaired by those who he guided and led with exquisite wisdom and balance...
Kumble, who doesnt remove and wave shirts publicly, doesnt wink at scantily dressed girls in ads, doesnt revv up accelerators of cars in glamorous ads, doesnt sip colas and tell lies to sell them, and who doesnt appear mouthing threatening words to batsmen on the pitch with accompanying gestures. Just looks determined, serious, tough, and seemingly in balance...
But a Kumble, who knows how to celebrate an honest effort , be it by himself or someone else on the field, whose feet always remain on the ground, firmly anchored, who endorses wildlife, education, insurance companies, and gets appointed on retirement to the World Anti Doping agency(WADA). He supports the IDF Tuberculosis campaign, and honors the young participating project contributors, saying ,"Lets clean bowl TB !".....
The nation declares an Arjuna Award, and later, a Padma award for him. He honors both, by attending. Wisden honors him, also shortlisting him in a list for Wisden Indian Cricketer of the 20th Century, in 2002.
Anil Radhakrishnan Kumble, as Lion King Mufasa would put it, is well connected in the Circle of Life.
Wonderful cricket, great colleagues, a supportive family, perceptive photography, amazing meetings with legends inside and outside cricket, and an abiding respect for creatures of the green, some in sanctuaries and forests, and some, who have run between 22 yards, with a piece of wood, hitting a Kookuburra , for much of their life.
IPL is a commitment he made before he retired. It is not his life. And like he did for his country, he gives it his best.
He remains, for our children, someone to emulate, understand, and look up to.
He probably has more time now. Maybe he takes his children to school and drives them there. Maybe he thinks of the stacks of photos that he still has, which can make another wonderful book. Maybe he will introduce his children to the wildlife that excites him. The light changes to green and he moves on...
The most wonderful thing for him, is possibly an intersection on the busy and prominent M.G.Rd in Bangalore, that is named after him.
A signal honor from the common man, who, while travelling to work daily, stops by, just for a little while, outside the TV shop on that street, watching the last few minutes of the thrilling match, eyes all alight, hoping that Kumble, spinning that second last ball, can do the needful; Watching it all makes him feel good.....
In balance, for the man on the street, it makes the day go better......
Mufasa, the Lion King, would have roared, and approved .
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