Anil Kumble – The Gentleman Warrior

Laxman Sivaramakrishnan slipped that in quite suddenly during his commentary today, when he said – “heres breaking news….Anil Kumble has decided to retire from test cricket….”….

Just like that.

How does one pay a tribute to someone like Anil? A quiet gentleman cricketer who has accounted for hundreds and hundreds of test scalps… A bowler who was not quite classifiable… Called a leg spinner, he would send down deadly king-cobra loop of top spins, flippers, and fast googlies… and the occasional leg breaks… At deadly pace, and vicious spit as it reared off the pitch, his attack was more the constant rain of arrows of Arjuna, than the magic archery of Indrajit. Yes, his art reflected the great constancy of Arjuna… Legend has it that Dronacharya, the teacher, was surprised to hear archery sounds in the middle of the night… Getting up to check-out, he found Arjuna practicing to shoot at night – in pitch darkness… And he became so proficient, he could shoot with either arm – and so was called Savyasachi… Anil was made of that kind of metal.  A man who came back to the field with a broken jaw, and scalped Brian Lara… Who can forget that…

Yes, Anil was a ‘man’ among cricketers… It is about one such as he that Rudyard Kipling wrote many years ago, when he voiced that sage counsel from father to son:

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!


One Response to “Anil Kumble – The Gentleman Warrior”

  1. vmminerva Says:

    Lovely reference to Rudyard Kipling. “If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch” You’ve captured the essence of Kumble with that!

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