Posts Tagged Anil Kumble

A MEMORABLE YEAR FOR TEAM INDIA

2008 was a spectacular for the Indian team. We are now approaching the end of the year and India is ranked no 2 in Tests and 3 in ODI’s, being only marginally behind the 2nd placed South Africans. This thread will consider those individuals who made this possible for India, and also those who were not that impressive.

ODI’s

Raina established himself as a formidable middle order batsmen in 2008

Raina established himself as a formidable middle order batsman in 2008

In ODI’s, the three best batsmen of India were the openers Sehwag, Gambhir and Dhoni, averaging 50, 47 and 58 respectively. However special mention must also be made of Suresh Raina who clobbered 680 runs in 19 matches at a striking average of 45. In fact, it won’t be wrong to say from the ODI batting point of view, this year belonged to the left handers Gambhir and Raina who were not as impressive before this year. From the batting point of view the two disappointments have to be Rohit Sharma and Robin Uthappa. Waqar Younas famously said, “This Robin, he is a good Batman” but that was not the case in 2008 because Robin only averaged 20 from 13 matches.

Dhoni was imperious this year, averaging 58 in ODI's and developing as a captain

Dhoni was imperious this year, averaging 58 in ODI's and developing as a captain

Sharma was touted as the next big thing of the Indian batting line-up, but he could only muster an average of 25 in 28 matches.

Zaheer had a special 2008, and rose in world rankings

Zaheer had a special 2008, and rose in world rankings

On the bowling front, Zaheer Khan was the key bowler taking 17 wickers at an average of 20 and strike rate of 30 balls per wicket. However Ishant Sharma was the pleasant revelation for India, being the leading wicket taker with 27 wickets from 19 matches at a wicket per every 33 balls.

The bowling pair of Ishant and Zaheer has emerged as one of the more successful ones for India

The bowling pair of Ishant and Zaheer has emerged as one of the more successful ones for India

Praveen Kumar also deserves mention for his 21 wickets in 14 games.

TESTS

In Tests, India’s most successful batsmen were again unsurprisingly, Gambhir and Sehwag.

Easily the best opening pair of 2008 in any form of cricket

Easily the best opening pair of 2008 in any form of cricket

Gambhir averaged 71, which has to be one of the highest averages of all time in a calender year. Gambhir has provided some sense and stability to the Indian top order which India had been looking for some time. His consistency this year was unbelievable and he smashed 3 hundreds and 6 50’s. The best aspect of Gambhir’s technique is the way he can switch very easily between attack and defence. Sehwag averaged 56 in 2008.

Tendulkar was the 3rd most successful batsman of the Indian line-up, showing some consistency this year and fans will be hoping this consistency remains. He averaged 48 with 4 hundreds and 3 50’s.

Rahul Dravid was a disappointment this year, with many

Suffered many failures this year, one which he will want to forget

Suffered many failures this year, one which he will want to forget

people including Sunil Gavaskar calling for his retirement. Dravid averages 31 this year but more than figures, what was saddening to see was his slow reflexes and vulnerable defence. He did strike a century in India’s last Test of the year, but it remains to be seen whether that will save his place in the team.

Ganguly was also not brilliant this year but he has retired from international cricket as one of the best batsmen to ever play for India and the best captain India produced.

India bowled very well in Test cricket this year and all the leading bowlers have negligible difference in stats. India’s leading bowlers were Harbhajan,

Mishra had a dream debut and outshone Kumble and Harbhajan

Mishra had a dream debut and outshone Kumble and Harbhajan

Ishant, Kumble, Mishra and Zaheer. From this list, Mishra should be considered in some detail because he made his debut this year. Mishra bowled in the right places, applied pressure and took wickets when they mattered. India did not miss the legspin of Anil Kumble because the new kid on the block, Amit Mishra, is very good and he left everyone behind.

Speaking of Kumble, 2008 also saw this legend’s exit from the game. Kumble was India’s greatest match winner, and the travesty is that he never got appreciated for it. Appreciation or no appreciation, his name was always be mentioned amongst the legends of Indian cricket.

No bowler playing a reasonable number of matches disappointed for India in Tests, and perhaps this is one of the reasons why India is placed at no 2 in the world today.

So many names to mention and so many astounding performances; this was an amazing year for the Indian cricket team. The world order in international cricket definitely seems to be changing and it seems soon there will be 3 top sides in the world as opposed to just 1. India is quite busy in 2009 and the way things are going at the moment, it is very likely we will sing the same praises for the Indian team this time next year.

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KUMBLE RETIRES FROM INTERNATIONAL CRICKET

The Legslip Management pays tribute to India’s greatest “unsung” matchwinner

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The retirement decision came too late perhaps, but Kumble targeted it for the right moment

The retirement decision came too late perhaps, but Kumble executed it at the right moment

Anil Kumble, like many great cricketers, was enigmatic for most of his career. He was a legspinner with an aggression and appetite of a fast bowler. Unlike most legspinners, he was never a great turner of the ball and instead relied more on variation in flight, pace and angle to pick wickets.

Hence, Kumble provided international cricket with a package that was perhaps never seen before- he was tall, aggressive, hungry for wickets and his legspin was unconventional. Yet Kumble was an immensely successful bowler and more than natural ability with the ball or his wrists, it was his combative mindset and sheer intelligence that enabled him to make a name for himself.

Consider Kumble’s technique against Inzamam for instance. Few bowlers troubled Inzamam more than Kumble did and Kumble nearly always succeeded in trapping the legendary batsman before his wickets. Kumble was also gifted in the sense of, pitching the delivery at the exact location where he wanted it to land. It was this continuous meticulous effort of being accurate with the line and length that forced the batsmen to make mistakes against Kumble. In fact at times you almost felt he was a mind reader.

Much like how Tendulkar for most of his career carried the weight of the Indian batting on his shoulders, Kumble was India's trump card when it came to bowling

Much like how Tendulkar for most of his career carried the weight of the Indian batting on his shoulders, Kumble was India's trump card when it came to bowling

Kumble never received the appreciation he deserved. His consistency was never in doubt and despite being known in circles as an aggressive and intelligent cricketer, he was considered for captaincy too late; when he had already been playing international cricket for 17 years. Kumble’s record as captain (3 wins, 6 draws and 5 losses) may not seem outstanding, but as a captain he was shrewd and tactful. Perhaps a good way to phrase it is, that Kumble was not particularly bad; Dhoni is just too good.

619 Test wickets at an average of 29.65 and strike rate of 66; somehow one never really saw the value in these figures as the Indian batting maestros Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly always stole the limelight. Yet Kumble was very modest and humble and never asked for undue appreciation. We give credit to Tendulkar for being the torch bearer of comtemporary Indian batting mastery, yet we seldom give Kumble credit for being arguably India’s most successful bowler ever; Kumble, with 619 Test wickets, is the 3rd highest wicket taker in Test cricket, after Murali and Warne.

Speaking of Murali and Warne, they were perhaps in a different league to Kumble as their bowling strike rates demonstrate. Yet when it comes to how useful a bowler is for his team, Kumble was never any less than Warne or Kumble. Warne had McGrath by his side and he also had Brett Lee; Kumble, for most of his career, did not play with any world class bowler who could give him support from the other end. In fact, Harbhajan only really came into the limelight when Kumble had already started fading as a world class spinner.

India's unsung matchwinner- all the way.......

India's unsung matchwinner- all the way.....

Kumble had setbacks and controversies in his career, but he was always picking up wickets and applying pressure on the opposition. Kumble was never very animated, nor was he ever excessively reserved- he applied a balance to his game and he was always up for a challenge. If one considers the ratio of India’s victories to Kumble’s 4 or 5 wicket hauls, one would genuinely discover Kumble’s value to the Indian team.

Anil Kumble will be an icon for his heroic qualities- his mental strength, his resilience but most of all, his modesty and relentless consistency despite being deprived of most of the limelight by Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly. The point of being a hero is, believing in a cause and accomplishing it even if if you don’t get your due for it. That is what heroes are made up of, and Kumble was the definitive Indian hero. He retires as a great model for Indian youngsters, and he will be remembered as India’s greatest unsung matchwinner.

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