So, Anil Kumble, the "Jumbo" of the Indian cricket, has bid farewell to the game. The highest wicket taker for India chose his favourite hunting ground, The Ferozshah Kotla in Delhi, to call it a day. Nine years ago, it was on the same ground when Anil Kumble had created a Jumbo history by bowling out all the ten players of the visiting Pakistan team - all alone by himself !! Academically, a trained mechanical engineer, Kumble discovered early the virtues of precision and accuracy, which he put to telling effect on the field. Savour this! Ball one.... the batsman fumbles trying to play defensively. Reaction : the batsman doesn't know where did the ball go after pitching and Kumble constantly looks with perched lips at the spot where he pictched the ball. Ball two ..... lands a couple of millimeters away from the earlier spot. Reaction : the close-in fielders all, raise an appeal but the ball has just missed the bat. A confident smile on Kumble's face and calculations in his mind. Ball three ..... pitches right on the spot. Reaction: the Indian players are shouting and running jovially with hands raised to give a high ten to Kumble and the batsman walking back to the pavillion with a feeling of despair for his team. That's how Kumle used to 'engineer' the ball !
Making a test debut in 1990 when India toured England, Kumble established himself as a quality international spinner, taking eight wickets in a test when India toured South Africa in 1992. Later that year when England toured India, Kumble took 21 wickets in just three test matches. By the time he had played ten test matches he had already scalped 50 wickets. He reached the mark of 100 wickets in his 21st match and became the fastest wicket taker after Prasanna. Then 200 wickets in 47 matches; 300 wickets in 66 matches; 400 wickets in 85 matches; 500 wickets in 105 matches and finally the 600th wicket in his 124th match.
Dedication and commitment were the middle names of Anil Kumble. Inspite of the worst of injuries, Kumble rose to the occasion and stood for his team. Remember that dare devil, with his face packed in bandages to hold his broken jaw in the West Indies series taking a hard hit return catch from Lara. Why go far. Only till his last match today, Kumble's fingers had been dipped in general anaesthesia and were bandaged, as he insisted to play on.
619 wickets in 132 test matches (No.3 in the world after Shane Warne and Mutthia Murlidharan); 10 wickets in one innings (Jim Larker of Englandbeing the only one to have done it in 1956); 10 times the Man of the Match (Sachin Tendulkar being the highest at 11) and a century to his credit. These are no mean feats.
Delhi feels proud for Jumbo, who chose this venue to declare his retirement. 'Hip Hip Hurray' !!
(the images are a grab from the various channels of TV)