Thursday, September 3, 2009
Cricinfo is having a new article series now which is called 50 Magic Moments. It consist of various incidents or innings or bowling feats or even anecdotes spanned over the history of this great game, proposed by cricket players, writers and commentators alike. My two most memorable picks from the list include, unsurprisingly, Indians. And more unsurprisingly they include Anil kumble and Sourav Ganguly, Indian cricket’s modern day warriors, albeit of two different kinds, as different as it can be.
The first one is Anil Kumble bowling with a broken jaw in the Antigua Test of 2002 series. India piled up a huge total in the first innings but in the course a Mervin Dillon bouncer broke Anil Kumble’s Jaw, not his never ending spirit. India needed to bowl out West Indies quickly on a typical Antigua featherbed to have any chance of victory in the series which stood at 1-1, and it was evident that Anil Kumble could not take any further part in the match before flying back home the next day for surgery. But what happened next is one of Indian cricket’s most poignant and inspiring moments. The sight of Anil Kumble emerging from pavilion with a bandage around his head to keep the broken jaw in tact drew applause from the crowd, players and umpires as well. Here is a man who might not even need to bowl a single delivery again to live happily for the rest of his life, but now bowling in excruciating pain to win a Test match abroad for India. In that single act of bravery Kumble captured and showed us the courage, character and dedication he has towards the game in general and Indian cricket in particular. And In the end, during the interview, he delivered the mother of all understatements when asked about the decision to come out and bowl. “I did not want to sit around” was his modest reply. Probably that was a honest answer from a man who scalped 619 Test match wickets without uttering a single word against the batsmen. In the end the pitch and Carl Hooper proved too big a stumbling block and Kumble could not bowl India to victory, but bowled a million hearts over.
The next incident involves Sourav Ganguly and it invariably involves breaking something, law most of the times, tradition occasionally! This time he showed his bare chest on the Lord’s balcony, a perfect revenge for Andrew Flintoff’s topless dance in Mumbai . But ripping the shirt of, whirling it around his head and shouting expletives which no mother wants her son to listen to, did one more purpose. Ganguly’s histrionics on that day turned lot of boys in India to adults, adults who learnt that Wankade and Lord’s will be treated equally thereafter. That was the last act of shedding colonial inferiority which we carried for decades and what a place to do that, the hallowed turf, the Mecca of cricket, the Lord’s! My friends say that i was smiling even in sleep that day night. Must be true!