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Kumble's 'safekeeping' not right

India have won a series against Pak after 27 yrs but somehow Kumble could have done something special on the last day of the last Test, writes Pradeep Magazine.

india Updated: Dec 14, 2007 01:45 IST
Pradeep Magazine

In the deluge of spoken and written words surrounding us nowadays, there is a danger of the mind becoming numb and the senses dull. And in the images of young men jumping around like there may be no tomorrow to celebrate, lies the danger of sanity getting eroded.

It is a new age, a new world and in this world, enjoying the beauty of sport in a simple, uncomplicated manner is seen as belittling the complex world that is being created around us. To live today means to find a hundred meanings where none may exist and to bombard a mind with as many theories as possible so that in the end, the best thing to do is to stop thinking.

India have won a series against Pakistan after 27 long years. Every Indian player has played like a team man. These are reasons enough to rejoice and to look forward to the tour of Australia with hope and expectation. But somehow the last day of the Bangalore Test rankles. There was something that just did not seem right to many of us. Something, which was not sport and not cricket. Anil Kumble is a man of few words, someone who weighs everything he says carefully. He may be changing a bit in the manner he carries himself, as the demands of captaincy are not easy.

He is far more expressive now, in words and in deed and also in the physical manifestation of his happiness. With his team doing well, he sulks and broods even less. He is a skilful manipulator of his resources on the field and knows how to keep his flock together. These are all hallmarks of a strong-willed man who knows what he is doing. These are also the hallmarks of a leader who can command.

Yet there was something that did not make sense on Wednesday afternoon. While the perky Dinesh Karthik was daring his fate and completing a miserable tour for Danish Kaneria, an interesting image flashed on the TV screen.

"Please declare and don't bore us," read a placard. The camera panned on the dressing room and before it could register his expression, Kumble immediately moved away to escape this scrutiny from the third eye. More images of bored spectators wanting a declaration flashed on the screen.

One wondered why a captain was being so irrational on a wicket that was behaving like a scorned beloved thirsting for revenge. When you see short-of-length deliveries keep so low that the ball, instead of sailing over the heads of a ducking batsman, hit their knee-rolls and elbows, you know that far from making runs, even surviving would be an ask.

There was even the danger of someone getting hurt. VVS Laxsman was lucky that he only bruised his elbow and did not break it. Does the modern-day obsession with safety stretch to such ridiculous lengths that you don't feel safe with a lead of over 300 runs with only two sessions remaining, especially on a track which was playing far more dangerous pranks than a poor journalist played in the press box and got banished from it for?

It somehow did not seem right and somehow, for a few of us, took the sheen away from India's admirable display and Kumble's undoubted ability as a leader of men.