Cricket: Bowling Jumbo shabaash.
“Bowling Jumbo, Shabaash Jumbo Shabaash” Nayan Mongia howling behind the wickets after gathering another vicious Kumble delivery in a test on dusty bowls on a sunny day, the batsman has no clue while Kumble goes back to the top of his bowl mark. The batsmen sighed a relief saying another Kumble spit fire out of the way. Anil Kumble has called it a day today he played 134 matches took 619 wickets and scored a marvelous unbeaten century. He is the only man other than a Jim Laker to take all ten wickets in an innings. A feat that can only be equaled and not be bettered.
Kumble has essayed many a turn around for Indian cricket. He along with the other Fabs, were one of the reasons why India were formidable in India. While Tendulkar and company made runs, Srinath would come on at time take wickets and it would be Kumble show from there on. He was obviously well supported by other bowlers from time to time, from Raju, Chauhan, Bhaji to name a few, but he could turn things around in very little time.
Jumbo is a strange name for a spinner. He never believed in flight. He would dart close to off stump, giving himself the option of capturing batsmen bowled, LBW or caught. Jumbo was perhaps for the fact that Kumble deliveries would seem to take off after pitching. It made the batsmen hurry up for a stroke, which confound his miseries and like a fighter plane Kumble would hone in on the batsman, until he got him.
Like Tendulkar. Kumble wasn’t ever party to on the field controversies ever. He preferred working off the limelight. I think though people in the “Fab Four” n(something I hate to use) would be the first to throw light on his prowess. Out of the four, three (Tendulkar, Ganguly Dravid) went to captain him and he proved to a match winner for all of them at different point in time. Perhaps Azhar gave him the most opportunities. His tenure as a captain wasn’t bad either. He would be best remembered for handling the team matters after the Sydney fiasco, turned the table on Ponting & Co. perhaps a telling point in the game of cricket, if Aussies continued to slide in form and fortune.
To be continued …
Kumble started his career in 1990 in England only to be dropped, Jumbo really took flight couple of seasons later when England came calling. You know England though, their players start to make excuses for not being upto the scratch and then England lose the plot and often the series. But then Sri Lanka were also emerging and coming to their own, in Test matches. Kumble was again the platform of another series win at home against the Lankans and Indias formidable nature continued to grow and they won hardly anything abroad. It was almost like a formula Hindi movie, Tendulkar lead the scoring charts, Kumble the bowling charts, meanwhile Tendulkar and other batsmen were labeled the Fab Four they knew for themselves that Kumble is the enginer powering there performances as well. Indian batsmen consolidated, Kumble consolidated more.
Rahul Dravid then started to share Tendulkar run making contribution especially abroad and Kumble having enough runs to bowl to, dissolved his confusion whether to attack and defend. The quality of seem bowling also improved. We have know Zak, Ishant, Sreesanth, RP Singh, Munaf and Pathan who can match wonders when we tour abroad. But it wasn’t so when Kumble was evolving.
Kumble the fighter that he is has proven time and again to come back stronger and better then before, underlining his focus and determination and dedication to go back to the drawing board and add more to repertoire physically as well as mentally. The fizz waned meanwhile accuracy and potency grew exponentially.
The second period is under Ganguly and the belief his instilled in the people he chose and taught to fight the raging bulls. The things started to change circa 2001. India started winning abroad and as our batting performances improved Kumble went further into the background playing an equal hand in most Indian victories. It came to be characterized by Dravid scoring runs and Kumble taking wickets. But he mat agree wasn’t the first choice spinner for his team. But he made sure that he continued to take wickets in bulk. The truck load of wickets in Australia, 2004 followed by operformances in Pakistan and then when Pakistan visited us. At one point in time he was leading wicket taker a few seasons back.
One of his traits were carrying on the fight when everything seemed down and out, obviously pointing to his injury in this match, Sydney fiasco, the spell at Antigua, and various comebacks. He came did his job of taking wickets while batsmen were glorified by the media, Kumble stuck to his task and bowled and bowled. As all things which have a beginning has an end, Kumble has ended his career with pride and with a self assurance that this team is on ascendency
Review of the test.
If a team score over 600 runs, and doesn’t makes the opposition follow on, the result of test is hard to achieve if there is no hara-kiri from one of the teams. India made 600, both Gambhir and Laxman made double century. The momentum was clearly lost, Aussies were put off pressure and when Indians took every opportunity of dropping catches and setting very defensive fields. The Aussies kep making runs down behind the wicket on the off side. The position mid on/mid off fielders continues to piss me off, I mean why do you want a mid off deep when Sehwag is bowling to a RHB and turning it square, you don’t mind him driving, there was virtually no second slip all day and I don’t wish to say much of the fielding, it was really ordinary. Kumble blown away due to injury. Both teams ambled along and settled for a draw. I think Aussies batsmen had much to gain, for a change Zaheer and Ishant went wicketless, Sehwag bowled marvelously to take a five wickets and joining an club of off-spinners to worry Aussies. It is an known fact that Aussies inherently struggle against off-spin. Jim Laker, Lance Gibbs, Jassu Patel, Harbhajan, Murali, Croft and know Sehwag have done well against the Aussies at different times. It was sad for Bhajji to miss out. But there is are a few positive aspect of Kumble retiring, Indians wont be facing selection dilemma and have a golden opportunity to win the series. It is a long way to go though.
I think Aussies should bite the bullet, drop White, get Marsh to open with Hayden, Katich to play in the middle order and also bowl a bit more. Hussey to be one down followed by Ponting and Clarke, Haddin, Watson, Lee, Johnson, Krezja