Since his retirement from international cricket in 2008, Anil Kumble has donned many hats with ease. Not a lot of cricketers, who have achieved a lot on the field, have gone on to taste the same success off it as well. But Kumble, it can be said, has bucked the trend at least initially.
After he called time on his cricket career, Kumble slipped into administration, becoming the president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association. He served as the National Cricket Academy chairman for a while before relinquishing it, and currently heads the cricket committee of both the International Cricket Council and technical committee of the Board of Control of Cricket India.
The two roles are reserved for men with great acumen and Kumble has fitted into them perfectly. However, it was the Royal Challengers Bangalore who benefitted the most from Kumble's nous. After a forgettable opening season in the IPL, RCB made Kumble the captain for the second edition and they went on to reach the final in 2009. And then, he subsequently was made a mentor and has played a key role in transforming RCB into a formidable unit.
So, it wasn't surprising that the Mumbai Indians roped in Kumble to break their title drought, forcing the former India skipper to end his allegiance to the RCB.
Mumbai have played their cards right, knowing well what the 42-year-old can bring into the table. On Tuesday, it was strange to see Kumble walk around the KSCA premises in Mumbai Indians' colours, a feeling of being at home but in an opposition camp.
For a major part of the day, he stayed away from his KSCA duties and was involved in charting Mumbai's strategy with coach JohnWright and Sachin Tendulkar, ahead of their season opener against RCB here on Thursday.
Daniel Vettori, who captained RCB in the last two seasons and worked closely with Kumble, said they would miss him. “Who knows what we will miss of him and how much? Anil obviously did a great job when he was with the RCB, but he chose to move on and it is entirely his choice,” said Vettori.
Recently, Wright said he was aware of Kumble's credentials and went on to say 'He's my boss.' The New Zealander has seen Kumble from many quarters, having worked with him as coach of the India team.