Sunday, November 2, 2008

In Life and in Cricket...some voids can never be filled!!

Though the heading indicates two aspects, namely ,life and cricket,here I intend to discuss just
one of them...and for a change,the less philosophical of the options available.Indian cricket team,by the end of this series,would have lost two of the greatest players that ever played
the game.Sourav Ganguly retires after the 4th test while Kumble announced his abrupt
retirement,something which I came to know a few hours back.For someone who saw cricket as a very integral part of his life for around 12 years now,these retirements mean a lot to me at the emotional level.I couldnt stop myself from expressing myself on this,and I want this to be completely spontaneous,and thus,after more than 20 posts and an year of blogging,this will be the first post which is directly being typed(no rough work).Anil Kumble,to me is someone who is as important as Sachin Tendulkar,but with much less credit and importance given for his service.Even the eras where the two were the most important ones in their respective departments,have surprising similarity(late 90s).Kumble probably won more tests for his country than any player for any country...and mind you am not exaggerating facts..I really cant think of another example where one cricketer had so much impact on the victories of his nation.Azhar won 14 tests as captain while ganguly won 21,and Kumble made the difference in most of them(except Azhar's earliest ones).People started taking him for granted,and he was never really given the status he so richly deserved.The obsession of fans for batting and batsmen also contributed to the same.300 wickets happened(probably Hoggard),400 happened(probably Simon katich),went past Kapil and went on to become first indian to take 500 and 600 wickets(certainly Harmison!!).Kumble ends his career as the highest wicket taker for India in both forms of the game.He did fall just short of 1000 wickets,but then the career isnt short of major
landmarks anyway.I remember listening to the match on radio,where Kumble picked up 10
Pakistani wickets.When he picked up 8,i began to pray that he gets the last 2,and that happened.There was a time,when most of the times India went to ball,the opposition innings
followed a certain pattern.They got off to a flier,but then Kumble came,brought things under
control.For years he kept doing this over and over again.I personally remember a match against
Pakistan,where Afridid struck him for 5 fours in his 1st over,and he still ended with 4/53 in his
10 overs,this was Anil,the fighter,the warrior.When Kumble had his off days,like any human soul has,it became so much dificult for India.When Anwar scored 194,he lofted Kumble for 3 consecutive sixes in 1st of the slog overs,and that changed the entire complexion of the innings.The last decade did see the discovery of Turbanator,who now becomes even more important after kumble departs,yet Kumble remained the best spinner for the country,for all the years that he played.Watching Kumble bowl at his best was such a special feeling.There isnt much you can enjoy in the bowling,but when it was kumble with the bowl,it was different.Even with al the fuss about him not being a big turner of the ball,when he started turning it,he was simply unplayable.Like thousands and thousands of die hard fans,am going to miss this cricketing legend for a long long time to come.As I said,there are a few voids which remain unfilled,there certainly can not be any replacement for Anil kumble.Wish him all the best in everything he does in the future,I salute the champion.

Any cricket fan goes crazy over a hard fought Indian victory,such matches have a special
significance for them.But when one talks about natwest final,it was made special for more than
one reason.The passion that the Indian captain displayed,even when he was in the pavillion is a
sight to remember.That sums up the "dada" and his character.I once read about Sourav...Love him or Hate him,you cannot Ignore him" prophetic the words sound.Personally I have been one of those who had his share of love as well as hatred,as i never was one of the "biased" fans of dada.One thing which always amazed me was the "variety" in his performances.I mean when at his best, one could actually use the expression "first there is god,then there is Ganguly" and the smae batsman at times batted like a no.10 batsman.I remember the embarassing match vs England where he got at least 5 lives,most of the runs he scored were off edges and was
consequently out for just about 15 runs!!..and I also remember infinitely many instances(ok this
is an exaggeration) when he stepped out to a spinner as if he was getting out for a morning
walk,and lofted deliveries out of the ground.Ganguly gets heap of praises for his off side play,but for me,watching him hit sixes,were the most special moments.In one of his SA tours when he was hitting a lot of sixes against faster ones as well,it was like watching cricket at its best.Left arm spinners feared bowling him,and when he stepped out our subconscious would add half a dozen to the Indian score without any time delay!! something about Ganguly,the captain.I already rate Dhoni as the best Indian captain ever(everybody will after 5 years,am sure) but presently ganguly is the most "successful" one.Indian cricket team had won a
little over 50 tests when Ganguly bacame the captain,and the team added 21 more in the next
few years.Even with more results being produced,the fact that only 26% of the matches in
his captaincy ended in draws(even with so many dead pitches in the subcontinent) speaks volumes about the aggression in his captaincy.A lot of credit for shaping the future of Indian
cricket,goes to dada.The agression and the attitude that we see in the team of today owes
largely to the Bengal Tiger.One can laugh his ass off on a video available on youtube,where Ganguly is upset when an Injured Yousuf is getting treatment and comments something like"time waste karenge ye log aur fir mera paisa katega"..Ganguly is also one of those who was
successful in all sorts of conditions,and for those who still feel he cannot handle the short
ball,I would like to mention that on the most bouncy tracks of the world,his record is as good
as that of Tendulkar.

Rahul Dravid,I feel will shortly join this group of retired cricketers.The kind of lean patch that
he is presently undergoing,will probably qualify among the 10 of the rarest things on this
planet!!..Watching these players say goodbye to the game has its share of sentimental as well as
philosophical importance,when it comes to me.I grew up watching them play,I messed up many exams to watch them on the tv screen,I abused the,I praised the,I danced when they won,sometimes did cry when they lost..and there are millions like me...Just goes to show that nothing is permanent,even the best comes to an end,careers end,eras end..we become really really senti(as I am now) and then we move one...but then..THERE ARE VOIDS WHICH WILL NEVER BE FILLED,LEGENDS WHO WILL ALWAYS REMAIN UNPARALLELED..


Ashish said...

hey nice work man!!
I was thinking of giving ganguly a tribute when he retires and u did it before me.....I also like the sixes hit by ganguly more than the classy off-drives for which he is known

SGM said...

I was really touched by this write-up....One can never forget the "larger-than-life" contributions of Kumble(or Jumbo as he is fondly called) to the rise of Indian cricket.His ability to run through line-ups is well-documented but who can forget his never-say-die spirit...Remember him coming on to bowl in West Indies with his jaw heavily strapped..and then also scalping Lara in a great spell of 12 overs(with painkiller injections in between overs)....I also remember an article in the Sportstar 10-12 years back where it was mentioned that due to overburden on shoulders,Jumbo and Srinath had to take these injections and keep on bowling.....As a human,he was as Electrical engineer he lives life according to his own terms...he is happily married to a widow....Jab tak suraj chand rahega,tab tak Anil Kumble ka naam rahega

SGM said...

As regards dear old Dada,I have always been in two minds about him.....I was sometimes apprehensive about his over-aggressiveness,but in the end his aggressiveness just reflected his love for his country and the game of cricket.....i can never the image of him taking off his shirt and celebrating the Natwest win...He changed the typical image of the Indian cricketer being meek....He gave Steve Waugh a dose of his own medicine by making him wait for a lot of time for the tosses during the historic 2001 test series.....I will miss him on the field too.....

amit said...

I ve read many blogs and this was the 2nd best of them


@Ashish...haan yaar mostly log uske sixes ke hi deewane hai...will wait for ur post on Ganguly

@ Sidharth...nice to know abt the attachment u have towards Kumble..and really nice example there..I do remeber it vividly,just that I missed watching that...saw in the news clip...real warrior was the man
must say Ganguly is someone Indian cricket will remain indebted to...he took India out from the unfortunate complexities of match fixing and stuff and raised the team to unimaginable heights....hes a hero no doubt

@ Amit...well i would like to know ur fav blog