Kumble’s spirit of never-say-die will be missed

November 2nd, 2008 - 11:14 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 2 (IANS) He got a Perfect 10 at the Feroz Shah Kotla here and it was only apt that Anil Kumble chose to call it a day at the historic venue.For 18 long years, Kumble’s shoulders has carried the enormous burden of winning matches for his country. A fighter to the core, Kumble never liked to lose on a cricket field. India might lose, but the spirit of Kumble was too strong to be crushed. He would come back hard with renewed vigour and show the side how to fight back.

And when Zaheer Khan and Rahul Dravid carried him for a lap of honour around stadium, Kumble might have been relieved of the pressure of carrying his team one more time at Nagpur. The man who is going to step into the hot seat vacated by him, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, carried him on his shoulders as if to feel what it means to carry the entire team.

Throughout his career, Kumble had to face unfair criticism, but he seldom complained. He always answered his critics with his tremendous performance.

Kumble was not the one to chicken out of difficult situations. It was no surprise he came out to bowl with a heavily bandaged left-hand after receiving 11 stitches on his little finger Saturday. When the team needs him, Kumble doesn’t take a backseat. His heavily bandaged face after a Mervyn Dillion bouncer broke his jaw is part of cricketing folklore.

He finished his one-day career a year ago, but carried on with Test cricket. At the fag end of his career, Kumble took up the responsibilities of captaincy and showed what a great leader he is when the team was stressed during the controversial Australian tour.

And he could never escape comparison with his more famed contemporaries Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne, the only two who are ahead of him with seven hundred plus wickets.

Kumble has taken 619 wickets at an average of 29.65 which include eight 10-wicket haul.

Though he was dismissed as a bowler suited for only tracks at home, Kumble bowled with vengeance in the later part of his career to take 269 wickets in 69 away matches.

At home, no opponent felt safe while Kumble bowled, he has 350 wickets in 63 matches from Indian pitches.

His best figures were against Australia — 111 wickets in 20 matches. That’s the stamp of class.

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