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He was reviled for not spinning the ball enough, for being a tiger on tailor-made tracks and a bunny on everything else and pilloried every time he made an ungainly attempt at a dive to stop a boundary. A bag full of wickets were taken, yet nobody rejoiced because that was Anil Kumble’s job, right? Many lesser men (and I used this noun deliberately) have belittled Kumble for no reason other than that he was always attacked, always gave his best and never let up.
Truth is that Anil Kumble has been India’s most consistent match winner for the best part of the previous 18 years. Come hell or high weather this man has surpassed all expectations, yet not his own, but never asked for anything in return. We haven’t seen any party punch-ups, his face has never been plastered all over TV screens and billboards and he has definitely received less than he was actually due.
Wordsmiths more talented than I will, rightly, wax lyrical about this most understated man. More than most people yet realise, Anil Kumble will eventually be remembered as colossus of our times, not just on the cricket field but for his deeds far from it too.
As much as Tendulkar, Dev and Gavaskar, Kumble is a national treasure in every sense of the phrase. Call him what you want, Anil Kumble will forever epitomise the unwavering spirit, unending ambition and unmatched genius inherent in those who are a cut above the rest.
Anil, words will never be enough to applaud your achievements and your commitment, but it is with deep sadness that we hear of your departure. However, it is with immense gratitude and blessings aplenty that we send you into the future where unquestionably greater opportunities and challenges await. Thanks for all the moments of magic over the last 18 years.
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