Kumble, going into the last test against SA was just 5 short of breaking Kapil Dev’s record of 434 wickets. The pitch of Eden Garden traditionally favoured spinners and medium pacers alike in a strange way (Remember Srinath’s 6 wicket haul ? And of course Bhajji’s 13). With Anil being branded the medium paced spinner, everyone knew that he was going to grab atleast 5, if not more this time. This simply meant that by the end of day 5, the record would be his.
India won a good game, as expected spinners grabbed quite a few, but Anil could only get 4 in total. That meant that he could only equal the record, not break it 🙁 He must have been disappointed, for sure. He mentioned that in the post match interview, but there were quite a big lot of people who got stumped by his not breaking the record —
There were trophies ready to be presented to the man for breaking the all time Indian record, there were full page templates ready at newspapers with snippets from his life on and off the ground, headlines were ready, there were TV programmes planned to celebrate his achievement.
Well, they all carried out the preplanned activity, saluting the man’s achievement of ‘equalling’ the record. Of course, it is by no means a lesser achievement, but the awkwardness was felt all over, even though most of the people behind these plannings put up a brave face and acted as if, THIS itself calls for a celebration!
Kumble is the most unsung hero of Indian cricket, and he deserve all the praises. And ‘they’ deserve that awkwardness they felt.
PS: The only (sort of) disappointment I had was that I had predicted India to win by 7 wickets at the end of day ONE, and for everybody else’s happiness, Sachin didnt get out and we won by 8 wickets. But I am not unhappy about it. It feels nice to lose a bet, when we still win it!