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An ode to Anil bhaiyya May 25, 2006

Posted by Abhishek in Abhishek, Cricket.


The name Anil, is commonly used in literature, especially by native writers – to indicate that they aren’t simply aping the ("western") books they read, by having protagonists with names like Michael and James. Anil is usually your neighbourhood boy-turned-society saviour and a perfect example of the powerless protagonist. Anil gets the vegetable for his mother, marries off his sister and ensures that the bills are paid. Anil can also play the trusted manservant to a flamboyant Karan, the close confidante to the beautiful Soniya or Rakesh's ever present chauffeur. 'Anil' – short, sweet and uncomplicated; the name itself belying decency and probably, a degree of impotency. Kumble's parents, therefore, could not have chosen a better name for him.


'Anil' is the perfect moniker for a man who is India's leading wicket-taker, the scion of the Indian spin attack for ages and only the second man to have taken 10 wickets in an innings, and still finds himself outside of the one-day team and out of favour with the selectors. Anil is the perfect name for a boy, who would fulfill his task to the hilt, and then run off the pitch before photographers could get a chance to get to him. Here one is reminded of the ever effervescent Manchester United and ex-England midfielder Paul Scholes, whose story we shall reserve for another day. Anil Kumble, in short is the possible hero of the day, who never got his due. Much, like Amitabh Bachchan's Jay in Sholay, he won every time – only to die in the end.

OK, maybe I am being a bit ruesome here. Yes, nobody denies Kumble's efforts as a class bowler. Nobody denies that Kumble is India’s highest wicket-taker; nobody denies that he took 10 wickets in an innings and has been the architect of many a India victory. Yet, no-one sticks his head out to say, Kumble is the best spinner India has produced – leave alone India’s best bowler. Kumble gets his due as 'a son of Karnataka' but never as a 'son of India' and more so, Indian cricket. I will be very surprised, if one day Kumble was to win the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award.



The image that most comes to mind is the one of an injured Kumble soldiering on with a broken jaw during India’s last tour to the West Indies, in what turned out to be another fruitless errand, another what-could-have-been. What Kumble deserves is a grand send-off into the sunset. I know, he will be the last to accept that the end is nigh, though by giving him an automatic place in every ODI till the World Cup, much like they turn to him in tests we will ensure that we get Kumble’s best during the WC. Replacing him with Ramesh Powar is laughable indeed, a trading of tried and tested pure gold, for silver-plated brass. Powar might yet mature, but putting Kumble’s neck to the altar is a little bit more that I can digest. If Ramesh Powar is being labeled as the ‘find of the season’ by the BCCI admiralty, the quality of the Indian new-comers is questionable indeed.


In spite of all this, the Anil in the Kumble carries on, involved multitudinally with cricket, via his interests in software and his company. And for a quiet man, Kumble’s role as the head of the unofficial Indian player’s association in remarkable indeed. But as long as Kumble is not given what he merits, unfortunately he will remain another has-been in India’s cricketing history, another powerless protagonist in an unremarkable novel.



1. DesiPundit » Archives » An ode to Anil bhaiyya - June 4, 2006

[…] Abhishek at Silly Point writes a post in praise of Anil Kumble, and wishes Kumble received more credit for what he has done for Indian cricket. […]

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