Anil Kumble, 37, has won India more matches than anyone else ever. Finally, 18 years on, recognition is beginning to come his way.
<b1>He’ll be 37 years and 180 days old and would have sent down 53,358 balls for India (of which 941 have resulted in international wickets), when the BCCI felicitates him in Chennai on Tuesday for breaking the 600-Test wickets barrier.
He’ll be getting a ball, specially crafted for the occasion by Orra Diamonds. It weighs close to 300 gram and is studded with 1,500 of the finest diamonds sourced from Antwerp, interspersed with approximately 600 oval rubies.
“We’ve designed and crafted trophies and commemorative pieces for Bollywood and Hollywood and made jewellery for the Belgian royals, but this is the first time we’ve had the chance to do something for a cricketer. It is a matter of great pride for us,” Vijay Jain, Chief Executive Officer of Orra Diamonds, told Hindustan Times.
While Jain would not say how much this cost, experts put the tab at a princely Rs 27 lakh, equal to the fees for about eight Tests.
Of course, when you look at the fact that each of the T20 World Cup winners got about 67 lakh apiece or the U-19 winners got 15 lakh each, then this for 600 wickets isn’t all that much. But in an age of mega-bucks to celebrate achievements, it’s more of a gesture than the standard BCCI plaque.
"For Kumble, nothing seemed more apt than a hand holding a ball, and we've produced just that, though it took almost eight weeks because this is a completely hand-crafted piece."
For years, Kumble was one of the superstar performers of Indian cricket but the sponsors, now racing to sign up every flashy new kid on the block, stayed largely away. And that's an unfortunate reflection on how we've treated some of our biggest everlasting heroes.
Rahul Dravid, another legend, agreed. "Anil has had to really earn every plaudit he has got on the field through sheer dint of performance and perseverance. Just because he was not a classical spinner in the way people perceive it, he has had to work that much harder for the credit he so richly deserves.
But that is how things are in life -you tend to easily appreciate what is pleasing to the eye. At the end of the day though, it is all about performance, and time and again, Kumble has made people sit up and take notice, purely by delivering the kind of results he has."