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A Kumble wrong ’un

india Updated: May 02, 2009 23:35 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

It is unusual for a man with 619 Test and 337 ODI wickets to celebrate the way he did each time after striking for Bangalore Royal Challengers against Kings XI Punjab during Friday evening's IPL thriller.



More so because rarely has Anil Kumble let out war cries like he did at Kingsmead.

"You have to (celebrate animatedly). Otherwise they will say you are old," Kumble, 38-years-young, snapped on being asked what prompted him to celebrate like someone unused to the limelight. Apart from the joy of taking crucial wickets, the satisfaction of being appointed captain from nowhere too was evident.

Kumble is not new to captaincy but he is a stranger to this situation where the team waited till the night before the match to announce Kevin Pietersen's replacement after the England allrounder left. Kumble led from the front, bowled crucial overs and did a splendid job.

Figures of 4-0-25-2 don't look exceptional and it's a classic case of statistics not even telling half the story. His first ball was hit for six by Yuvraj Singh who sent him out of the park again in his next over.

Determined not to lose the duel, Kumble tossed one up at a slower pace, lured Yuvraj into a mishit and celebrated like a Zulu warrior.

Barring the two sixes, Kumble conceded 13 runs off his remaining 22 balls. The numbers again looked stacked against him when he came in to bowl the 19th over with Kings XI needing 17 with six wickets in hand. There were whispers in the press box that only Kolkata Knight Riders could lose from that situation. Kumble proved the scribes wrong once again. The wrong one which won India many Test matches foxed Kumar Sangakkara and the over produced just four runs.

"It's a matter of mindset," Kumble said of the turnaround in his performance compared to last year's IPL.

"I was still playing international cricket and trying to rush through the overs. Now I realise that I can divide them into four spells. Also, the pitches this year have something for the bowlers."

About being captain once again, Kumble said he was "grateful" that the opportunity came to him.

"I have always loved challenges. To lead any side is a big feeling and being a captain in IPL is special because you are leading a bunch of players who you have played against and shared the dressing room with some."

There have been some outstanding performances in IPL II so far and there would be many more. The one here on Friday evening would remain special for it came from an ageless champion who is challenging the boundaries once again after quitting the international game.