Kumble Shocks Nation with Kotla Farewell

It was a regular Sunday afternoon. The spirited Kotla crowds were cheering the stroke play of Laxman and Ganguly’s trademark six. Suddenly they fell very quiet. No, it was not the fall of an Indian wicket. Anil Kumble, the King of Kotla, had just announced that he would retire at the end of the day’s play.

Kumble did not shock the Delhi crowd alone, but shell-shocked a cricketing nation, just like he bamboozled batting greats throughout his career. We all knew it was coming, and soon, but it seemed to fans to come out of the blue. Why you may ask? Perhaps because there was no time to let it sink; maybe because he has been such a regular fixture in an Indian line up; perhaps because we admire him so much; perhaps because this is the end of a Golden Era in India cricket. The numbness and lumps in the throat are justified for this is no mere bowler. This is Anil Kumble. The Kumble who took all 10 wickets in one innings; the Kumble who took over 600 wickets in all; the Kumble who bowled with a broken jaw; the Kumble who never gives up; the Kumble whose statesmanlike captaincy through an acrimonious tour of Australia made him the best ambassador of the gentleman’s game; the Kumble who bowled with a stitched up finger and the Kumble who took his last international wicket from a return catch with an injured hand.

Kumble, the cricketer, has been special to me in many ways. Aside of inspiring me to experiment spin bowling with a tomato, he’s done much inspire any average Joe that with hard work, one can scale great heights as Anil Kumble’s career is a tribute to this. As a bespectacled young man who took the field, he did not take the cricketing world by storm. He did not spike to success either. Kumble’s career progress has been almost boringly gradual, one nurtured by sweat, blood, toil, unrelenting hard work, a craftsman’s talent and soldier’s spirit. Yet underneath it all, there is a good human being, a man who managed the impossible task of staying clear of controversy in a cricketing nation that thrives on and devours it with voracious appetite. His manner was distinctly south Indian: low-key, polite, and humble. His success is testament to the fact that one does not need showmanship or bravado to reach great heights. All that is required is a committed soul that always gave a hundred percent to the task at hand. Success will automatically follow.

Dravid and teamates throne Kumble

Dravid and teamates throne Kumble. Picture Source: Cricinfo

To an extraordinary man, one of the Fabulous Five of Indian cricket, and an excellent ambassador of the gentleman’s game, here is a shoddy free verse of praise:

Oh Captain, My Captain!
You have stunned us all
With your adieu today
Created a void
that will take more
than just talent to attempt to fill.

Though we shall cry a river today
we know that you deserve better
For you are a man who’s won us
so many matches
given us so much joy and
made us proud to be Indians

We will forever remember
the rhythmic stride
the baritone voice
the “got-cha” celebration
and the Jumbo spirit

While you may be missing
From the cricket field
we will take pride and solace
that when the name of bowling
legends are flashed across
the screens in the years to come
we will read the name
Anil Kumble
etched with a grace that is
gentlemanly and so wholesomely Indian.

Hail Kumble!


20 Responses to Kumble Shocks Nation with Kotla Farewell

  1. Bravo VM!
    The tomato bowling is very apt for BCC!, care to elaborate there?

  2. vmminerva says:

    @NC, sure. 🙂 Thank you!

  3. gkamesh says:

    yes vm…. kumble touches every Indian… he is a good human being… of how many can we say that?

  4. Kshitij says:

    It was sad to see his career ending in this way.He was a great gentleman.Can’t imagine how can I see a match without him in the team.
    Hail Jumbo!

  5. hail kumble!! …and hail VM!! for a great post and verse…

    for me, he is the epitome of how you can be firecly competitive without loosing dignity…

    better young generation learn and remember this…

  6. Great post. Kumble was not just a role model for spin. He is a role model for life. You can read my tribute to him at http://www.rameshsrivats.net

  7. vmminerva says:

    @gkamesh, very true, not too many. Thanks for stopping by.

    @kshitij, yes, it’s still numbing isn’t it.

    @SP, thanks man. The young have many lessons to learn from the Fab five, They will do well to not make fun and strive to emulate, if not better them.

    @Ramesh, yes, a role model for life. I read your tribute. Lovely!

  8. Q says:

    Not just the nation VM, he shocked the world.

  9. kv says:

    Great post…minerva!
    chk out my own too if you have the time that is!

  10. Buzz says:

    Hey VM, we would always miss Ak and cricket watchin without him would be boring n bad…

  11. Scorpicity says:

    It hit us smack on the face didn’t it… even though we knew it was coming soon. Suddenly things look a bit scary… but we will move on.

  12. vmminerva says:

    @Q, it takes a great man to shock the world, isn’t it?

    @kv, nice to see you here again, man! Will definitely check out your article.

    @Buzz, I would be surpized if we are able to find quality replacements in a year.

    @Scorpy, yes it did, indeed! The shock factor added to it. It all happened so quickly. But, as you say, we must move on, for there is no other choice.

  13. Soulberry says:

    Brilliant Vic. I hope Jumbo reads this and understands how much he is appreciated by fellow Indians.

    You have captured the hust perfectly…till that point there was kidding and joshing amongst the spectators…then everybody was simply nonplussed. The game in the center became immaterial.

    The curious thing is it was not unexpected, yet…

    There was not one soul in the kingdom of kotla that day who wasn’t missing the king already.

    We will forever remember
    the rhythmic stride
    the baritone voice
    the “got-cha” celebration
    and the Jumbo spirit

    There may be others who wil bring a siliar spirit or even better, but there shan’t be anyone quite like Jumbo. Those gotcha celebrations were so upbeat that an entire nation of cricket watchers lifted every time he had reason to.

    It isn’t easy not to be sullied with controversy in two decades of international cricket…especially if you are a bowler, your nation’s main strike bowler, and a rather good one at that – a perfect magnet for all kinds of unsavoury things to stick on. But not Kumble…and not because he “vanished’ from the scene where controversy lurked…his demeanour and practice of sport was such that controversies remained warily distant from Anil till the very conclusion of his career. They knew better than to have a go at him

    Again, excellent article Vic…I enjoyed reading this 🙂

    Get ready for Dravid at Nagpur…there could be a retirement there for Nagpur is almost second home for Rahul.

  14. Soulberry says:

    Oops…those typos and I forgot to close the italics :doh

  15. A Bisht says:

    Graet post VM . Kumble is a real hero, worth emulating.I fancy myself to be very practical; but I’m missing Kumble too.

  16. vmminerva says:

    @SB, no worries, I’ve closed the italics for you. Glad you liked the article. As for Dravs, something tells, me maybe not, though a few days ago I would have thought yes. I can’t write another “retirement” post, not so quickly, not for Dravid, certainly not now.

    @AB, Thanks for the kind words. Some people are beyond that bit of practicality. With his commitment, he’s added that bit of emotion, even for the most cynical of Indian fans.

  17. I too wrote bout kumble

    visit my new post on two lengands of cricket at

    I spent alot of time on it and looking forward for your thoughts.

  18. vmminerva says:

    @Chris, I got your article, before I moderated this comment! 🙂 Nice one. Cheers!

  19. Soulberry says:

    Congratulations Vic, The BG trophy’s back home! 🙂

    Where art thou?

  20. vmminerva says:

    Congratulations to you too, SB! Isn’t this wonderful? Couldn’t get any work done today! Though I was not in front of a TV watching India trump the Aussies, 2-0, I was nowhere else in spirit. Great victory. Now, just back from soaking in some Dada goodness. Nothing new in the interviews, but quintessentially Sourav. More on that, Chappell, and the series coming up (hopefully this week).

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