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Tuesday, 4 November 2008

"Farewell, Warrior" - A Tribute to a Great Career

"You could see the flesh. There are 11 stitches. The doctor said I had to undergo the procedure under general anesthesia. I told him, 'If you give me general anesthesia I'll lose time, I'd like to go there and bowl.' He said 'Look, it's a medical decision, not a cricketing decision."

This statement above is enough to define Anil Radhakrishna Kumble, the great warrior of Indian cricket. The latest injury he sustained while trying a near-impossible catch against Australia at his favorite hunting ground, Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi, made him think about bringing curtains to a two decade long illustrious career. As a 38 year old, he even tried a catch of such difficulty speaks volumes of his commitment towards the team and the game, and the fact that he almost pulled it off, makes it even better. But, as luck would have it, that was not to be, and in the process, he injured his left hand, and had to recieve 11 stitches.

Playing in the most unplayable physical conditions is not new when it comes to Kumble - Who can forget that courageous bowling effort in Antigua, where he bowled with a bandaged broken jaw, to pick up the prized scalp of Brian Lara, to prove his worth once again to the doubters. His comeback from a career-threatening shoulder operation in grand style too, is ample testimony to his perseverance, dogged and ruthless determination, which he carried throughout his playing days.

His records speak for themselves: nearly a 1000 wickets at the international level, over 3500 hard-earned international runs, a world record for most number of caught and bowled dismissals in test arena and dignified captaincy, are enough to give a glimpse of his achievements on the cricket field. What makes him great along with these records and many more, is his image on and off the field. His statesman-like stature has enriched Indian cricket.

When it comes to Anil Kumble, the human being, he is nothing but perfection personified. He is most definitely a cricketing role model for generations to come, and also a role model to the entire humanity. You name a desirable quality or behavior in a human being, and Kumble can be named as a perfect example of someone who possesses that quality. There is certainly no point in trying to list those qualities. He excels in all of them.

I must admit that I have been privileged to have been living in the same era to witness the great man in action, and proud to declare that I look up to him, as a role model, as millions of others do, and billions more must. With that, here are my wishes to Anil Kumble, on his future endeavors, within and outside of cricket. Salutations again, to the true "Bharata Ratna" of Cricket.