Sunday, November 2, 2008

Was it Really Out of the Blue?

My day started normally. I woke up after a hectic weekend, not wanting to go to work. Yes for us poor souls in the Middle East, Sunday is a working day.

I got to work on time, called in for some garam chai, and logged on to my laptop.

As I sipped through the tea I watched the laptop take its sweet time logging on and then Windows taking its even sweeter time trying to start some programs and block some start-up programs.

Even the tea wasn't that sweet!

As all the icons came into place and the network told me it was up, I clicked onto the explorer and got on to Cricinfo for some live ball-by-ball of the final day at the Kotla.

A draw was the only result in my mind but I wanted another Gambhir 100 and some Johnson wickets for cheap fantasy points.

Niether happened and the day went on as I juggled between work, gmail, cricinfo, facebook, and the blogs.

Somewhere during the day I lost interest in the match and got engrossed in some animated gmail exchanges on several mailing lists.

That is when an email from Gaurav Sethi popped up. The subject was "who retired first" and in the mail was a link saying Anil or Saurav?.

I wondered what imaginary post NC had written this time when suddenly it occurred to me - Had Kumble announced his retirement?

NO! How could that be I thought. I looked at the watch and thought that the match had not ended surely and it was only days ago that Kumble was blasting the media on speculating about his retirement.

With all these thoughts in my mind I shifted to my Cricinfo window, which was now showing "network server error". I clicked on refresh and as the browser opened I read comments on the ball-by-ball from readers paying their tributes to Kumble who had announced his retirement during the tea interval.

I had said on numerous occasions that this would be Kumble's last test series but I never expected the announcement to come like this. Actually I didn't expect it at all with the way Kumble answered the media throughout the last month.

Then I read NC's post and I left a comment saying the same.

Who would have thought Kumble would be the first one to go out of the 5 seniors?

As the day went on, tributes kept coming in. I read them all.

I followed the ball-by-ball seeing Kumble take the new ball hoping he gets a wicket in his final spell. That would also give me some fantasy points.

Then it occurred to me that I had to substitute him before the next test now.

The match ended and I read about the hand shakes, the doffing of the hat, the hugs, the carrying on the shoulders, and the lap of honour.

A champion was leaving the game and I still wondered why. Why so sudden? Why out of the blue? Why during a test? Why not get a farewell test if not a series like Saurav?

The answer to all those is because he is Anil Kumble.

A man who never put himself before the team, a man who never chased the spotlight, a man who always remained in the shadows.

For Kumble, the team came first, always. He wanted the emphasis on the test series, not his retirement, which I eventually found out wasn't all that out of the blue after all.

During his press conference Kumble said "...Anyway I had more or less decided this would be my last series." [Read in full here]

That is when it hit me that ofcourse he had decided. He must have before the series began. Maybe even during the summer. He would never have continued to play on knowing that he was past his best.

He just didn't want the focus to be on him.

It was India vs Australia, and he wanted it to be just that and not "Kumble's last test series".

He knew he was going even before Saurav did. So what if he didn't say it?

As he said he "would have ideally liked to have finished in Nagpur". But fate was cruel to him. The injury to his hand denied him what he had wanted.

Yet he got the most rousing farewell from his team mates on his favorite ground - maybe that's what fate wanted for him.

He deserved no less.

As my Sunday comes to an end, so does the career of one of the best bowlers to have played this game.

Definitely not out of the blue!

Make your pitch on this post...

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13 Pitched:

  1. Gaurav Sethi said...

    Q - prefer Kumble's style to the long series goodbyes. And that you gotta give Kumble, he's got more class than the whole lotta them put together.

    Can't say whether it was outta the blue or not, but i'd like to say that anything in the public eye (sport, film, celebrity) it's the perceived reality that counts - or what we're made to believe.

    Also, do tell, what imaginary posts? :)

  2. straight point said...

    at the time of farewell we all say sweet nothings...

    we all knew it was coming and i at various blogs said before the start of series that in all probability this is gonna be his last series...

    the injury only hastened his retirement by one match...

    my mom summed it up when she heard the news on tv by saying 'beechare ko kabhi usska sammaan nahi mila...'

  3. Anonymous said...

    mohammad yousuf has joined ICL

  4. Anonymous said...

    The Selection Committee headed by Mr. Saleem Jaffer has announced following players for the 3 ODIs (12th, 14th and 16th November) against West Indies in Abu Dhabi. The squad is as follows:
    1. Shoaib Malik - Captain
    2. Misbah-ul-Haq - Vice Captain
    3. Salman Butt
    4. Nasir Jamshed
    5. Younis Khan
    6. Mohammad Yousuf
    7. Shahid Afridi
    8. Kamran Akmal - WicketKeeper
    9. Sohail Tanvir
    10. Shoaib Akhtar
    11. Umar Gull
    12. Iftikhar Anjum
    13. Fawad Alam
    14. Abdur Rauf
    15. Saeed Ajmal

    1. Sohail Khan
    2. Yasir Arafat
    3. Khalid Latif

  5. Anonymous said...

    This is probably the best squad I have seen in the past 3-4 years.

    When I mean "best" I mean the one with most deserving players.

    You have Nasir Jamshed and Saeed Ajmal in the squad, and you also have Yasir Arafat in the reserves.

    I would have used Khurram Manzoor in place of Khalid Latif, but I don't think the reserve players will be utilised in the first place so it doesn't matter.

  6. Anonymous said...

    for those who were wondering what happened to nasir jamshed, he was suffering from malaria which is why he was not included in the pentangular matches.

  7. Q said...

    NC, I would rather prefer something in the middle - for example a farewell test like Inzamam got. Although even that was manufactured at least it wasn't long farewell series like Waugh's or Ganguly's.

    But I guess Kumble's injury didn't allow him to announce it before the Nagpur test that that wud be his last...

    Agree with you about the perception ceated by the celebs.. very true!

    As for imaginary posts.. wat meant was how u had run ur imagination this time for a new post. Most of your blogs are derived from quite an imagination - especially the poetry!

  8. Q said...

    Yes SP and Ive been right behind u saying the same on a number of blogs.

    Ur mom was spot on!

  9. Q said...

    Khansahab, where did u hear abt Yousuf joining the ICL?

    It would have been more relevant had u left these comments on the posts below abt Afridi and Akhtar but thats ok.. the squad is good though I would have preferred Sohail Khan instead of Rao or Rauf.

    And how is the best squad u have seen in the last 3-4 years? It was the same squad that played the Asia Cup a few months ago...

  10. Anonymous said...

    my source was "the news" newspaper

  11. Anonymous said...


    Abdur Rauf and Saeed Ajmal were not in that Asia Cup squad.

  12. Q said...

    Khansahab - Abdur Rauf and Saeed ajmal were part of the Asia Cup Squad:

    The only difference was Wahab Riaz instead of Shoaib Akhtar and sarfraz ahmed instead of akmal.

    Mansoor amjad was the 16th member.

    Saeed Ajmal made his debut in the Asia Cup.

  13. Anonymous said...

    At least we can all be happy that he left at the right time unlike some of his peers who the more I see the more bad memories remain.

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