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 .

Wide Angle By Anil Kumble
This entry is posted as a part of the Contest by


  1. please click the book cover and post it here when you win :)

    You know, I am a big cricket fan..I knew quite a few details you have mentioned for me; it was a journey back in could I forget those 10 wickets in an innings..that was some of the most dedicated sports persons we have ever got..

    and I had seen that press conference too..

    thank you for this wonderful post :)

  2. beautifully written... ! if you get the book... you will have me visiting you at the earliest to atleast see the book !!!!!!

    If anil reads it... he will love it !

  3. Wonderful post. The man comes through as one with a towering spirit and innate decency ... and the balance you mention. Lovely

  4. Neha Thank you. I think a lot of us, not necessarily cricket types, watched that press conference in Sydney. And were totally impressed. And one remembers the various vignettes.

    There are folks , eg. with intials HW, who make fun of my cricket knowledge. This thing is really beyond cricket, and so had to do the post :-)

    HWThank you. Coming from you, this is special. The man has more true royal qualities than all those Challengers and Rajasthan types.....

    Ritu Thank you. I am so glad the post conveyed the actual things I was trying to convey about the man....such a great role model for our youngsters!

  5. Wonderfully written.. beats any of us who attempted the same hands down!!! .... when you get the book... do send me a snap atleast for preservation :)

  6. Sagarika Thank you, and congratulations yourself for a wonderful entry ...There dont seem to be a large number of entries at least as seen by the blogaada comments, so I hope they decide to give all of us the book ! That would be great, na ?:-)

  7. Wonderfully written. The difference between a Master and a Pretend is just that, they do it wholly no matter who they play against. Sachin does this with Bat, Kumble with the Ball. Even now, we see terrified batsmen in IPL while facing Kumble and Kumble alone! He deserves the circle in MG Road.

  8. Ugich: Absolutely...may your mouth be filled with sugar and spice and everything nice :) .. but looking into the costs of the book.. i have SERIOUS doubts!!!... Oh .... thank you for your kind words .. though in front of you all I can offer is a sheepish juvinile smile :)

  9. Wonderful post. People like him are really exemplary

  10. "...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)"

    These are the qualities I have always admired about him!

  11. You are missed on Twitter!

  12. Superlative. Extremely well-written would be an understatement.

    I'm not a cricket enthusiast by any means, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I am one of those who is proud to read the yellow sign thats says 'Anil
    Kumble Circle' whenever I pass by. A sensible move by those in power, for a change.

    I worry about the effect television will have on my almost-3 when he is a little older and wants to watch what is on offer. Even if I succeed in filtering
    out objectionable programmes, there are the advertisements, news telecasts and cricket matches - they are not the same as in my growing up years. In these
    times where aggressive behaviour, bullying, self centeredness rule, Kumble stands out as one of the last few gentlemen, measured in his ways, both on and off the field.

    Wish there were more gentlemen like Kumble around, for our children to have as role models.

  13. Excellent post... must say... a perfect description of Anil Kumble.. One of the very few Gentlemen remaining in the Gentleman's game!!!

    Hope u win!!! All the best!!

  14. Dinesh BabuThank you for the kind words.

    Sagarika I think may be you can substitute sugar and spice with limbu pani and honey.....:-)

    ShilpaThank you

    IHM Arent you amazed and thrilled by how many folks like Kumble for his non cricket qualities ?

    About Twitter : I really dont understand it. Once in a while i log in and all I see his huge amounts of Harshabhogle sayings....why am I being missed ? Hmm.

    Arundhati If and when I visit Bengaluru, I will definitely travel through the Anil Kumble Circle. When I saw this competition thing, I was very pleased it was for Kumble. Am not sure if anyone else would have got the same reaction.

    Truly a great role model for todays young....

    ShrikantThank you very much for the kind words...

  15. People say many things right? to be very honest with you; there might be rarest of the rare bloggers around who can match your and Kavi's I am sure they are plain jealous of you and making fun of things :) And I even know that it does not affect you..your post says it all :)

  16. Neha Nobody seriously makes fun of anyone on the blogs,.....we just like to pull each others legs every now and then...Its makes blogging that much more fun ! Aisa jealousy wagaira kuch nahi hota....its all in the eyes of the beholder....

  17. oh that way..I thought you sounded sarcastic..sorry, my bad :)

  18. Such a lovely post!! Glad I read this.

    This looks more about Kumble, the man than Kumble, the cricketer. Such is his impact on our lives. Even for people who do not follow cricket, I am sure they will listen to Kumble with respect for all those qualities that you have mentioned.

  19. Thank you. And yes, this post IS about Kumble the man. Cricket is just one aspect of the man, currently and previously in the limelight. He is so much more, I should think.....

  20. I hope you get the book and share some of it with us. Quite highly priced, so I shall browse through it at the bookstore. Anil Kumble one of a kind in the sport which has Harbhajans and Sreesanths in plenty.

  21. radha Thank you for your wishes. But everyone has written wonderful entries ! I wish everyone could get a copy :-)

  22. Hi Suranga, It is so good to catch up with you again. I enjoyed the post and reading about this man. Such a good person. I moved to Wordpress because you can do so much more with it. I now have several blogs and they are all connected. TW is growing like a weed and I enjoy him so much. I hope you and your family are all well. I will be back, too! Hugs, Judy P.S. Love your music.

  23. You love your cricket. And this man seems to be most worthy.

  24. I've been following your blog for sometime now and whenever I had the urge to comment I was in office where blogger comments are blocked:-( By the time I get home it slips away.
    This time I decided to keep the promise to myself.
    You are a lovely inspiration - I hope I can sustain my blog for long.

    It was a lovely tribute to one of my favourites. Made the other entries look ordinary ( mine was one) I'll never feel bad losing to such a lovely winner!

    I forwarded this link to all my friends and who are now huge fans of your writing!

    It's amazing you have the zest for the game at this age - awesome. My aaji was 83 when she passed away last Sep and she would be glued into all matches with us!

    sorry for the long comment - I hope you win and please do post a pic of that book.

    I will feel bad missing out on the book but if you win - no ways:-) I think I would savor it more!!!

  25. Minal Thank you for the kind words.

    I think we should never prejudge things. Everyone who wrote about Kumble wrote from the heart, and not necessarily because they were cricket experts. In my eyes, , anyone can win, and I wish they had books for everyone. I did read your entry, and really enjoyed it, and learnt so many new things about Kumble.

    There is really no winning and losing here; just a grand celebration for a very very decent chap .....

    My best wishes to you ...

  26. Anil Kumble is a rare and true gem! Lovely write-up.

  27. judy,glennis Thank you...

    dipali Thank you..

    madhugr Thank you...

  28.! Wonderful post!!
    I'm no cricket fan but I have always admired Kumble.. and thoroughly enjoyed your write up!!
    Good luck to you on this one :)

    On a different note,
    I had read your poem on Solilo's blog and loved your imagination. Here i find a treasure with so much variety! Immensely enjoyed your passionate writing style!! Hats off to you!!!