Attention – Due To Allegations of Plagiarism, This Article Is Highly Suspect

Two Sports headlines, both pertaining to cricket caught my headlines his morning. One pertained to Anil Kumble announcing his retirement from one day cricket. And the other was Ian Chappel’s call to Sachin Tendulkar to retire. Ian’s comment, especially barbed was that Tendulkar was that “At the moment he (Tendulkar) looks like a player trying to eke out a career built on a glittering array of statistics”. Kumble called “The Bashful Hero” by BBC, also among the world’s cricketing elite, albeit less glamorous has gracefully withdrawn from the scene attracting glowing tributes from one and all.

In the late sixties, when I first began listening to cricket commentaries (No TV in those days!), one quote from the late Cricketer, Vijay Merchant was often cited. Merchant, who had announced his retirement when in top form was often asked about the correctness of his departure as he perhaps had some years of cricket left. His inevitable reply was that one should leave in a setting where those left behind would mournfully ask “ Why” and not fretfully ask” Why Not ?”.

Till now, I used to think that such words were perhaps the eccentric notions from a by gone era. But no, some wisdom is eternal and Vijay Merchant’s words will perhaps haunt Sachin as he increasingly hears the jeers that will follow Chappel’s bold statement that Tendulkar was playing more for his own interests than the team’s. So will Kumble’s statement at his Bangalore press conference echo that he was to give chance to the younger lot.

Anil Kumble , never the glamour boy of Indian cricket , even if a legend in his own right , has shown by his gesture that it is important not just to begin well and be consistent , but also finish well. Though his fellow leg spinner Shane Warne , whose career graph closely matched Kumble, left in disgrace having tested positive for drugs, not a whiff of scandal ever touched Kumble. No match fixing, no drugs, no fancy advertisements , no streaked hair, no glitzy BMWs with customs duty exemption requested , nothing.

Whether on the cricket field , or off it, knowing when to walk off ,even if there are dreams unfulfilled and a chock full of regrets that will never go away is invaluable. In Anil Kumble’s own words, this wasn’t the way he wanted to leave. He made it to the team but was not played in the matches against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and his last memory of the World Cup that he longed so much to be part of , would be his three wicket haul against Bermuda , a forgettable team by all accounts. Kumble said. In his press conference that “I wanted to go with the ball in my hand. It did not happen in the last World Cup. It’s always nice to finish on a high note. Unfortunately, it does not seem to happen.” There is not always a fairytale end. ……” Anil Kumble , the bashful hero with the disarming smile was always admired as a cricketer. Now , he will be admired and respected as a man and a model ….. A different kind of model than those shallow men who often walk our ramps.

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