Given how the Indian team capitulated to the spin bowling of Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann, despite being dubbed as the team best equipped to play spin, it is not easy to remember some really remarkable feats by Indian players. But there is one incident that stands out in terms of courage and commitment by an Indian player.
While batting in the first innings of the 4th test in Antigua (May 10-14, 2002) [link to scorecard]; after being hit by a ball from West Indian Pacer Merv Dillon, Anil Kumble had broken his jaw.
[pull_quote align='left'] It is the character of a brave and resolute man not to be ruffled by adversity and not to desert his post – Cicero [/pull_quote]
This is what he said about his injury and the decision to come out in the West Indian innings and bowl 14 consecutive overs.
“They temporarily tried to keep it (the jaw) in position,” he said. “The tooth was moving. There was a big crack. “There was a bit of risk, but I thought the risk was worth it. They said, ‘No matter what you do, you won’t be making it worse. Even if you do, they’re going to cut it open.’ That kind of confidence egged me on.”
The highlight of that spell was getting the prized wicket of Brian Lara out lbw after scoring mere 4 runs!
The match was headed for a draw after India had scored 513 for 9 decl. West Indies went on to score 629 for 9; and there wasn’t a whole lot to fight for. Yet, Kumble came out to participate for his country, even when he was down so badly. That to me is an example of commitment for one’s work. Something that we rarely see in most professionals and players today.
When asked why did he come back to bowl, he said unassumingly:
“I didn’t want to sit around”
The World’s greats were all praise for Kumble for his courageous decision to bowl that day.
“It was one of the bravest things I’ve seen on the field of play” - Viv Richards
“Cricket has a way of producing inspiring tales of valour for the country and this ranks at the top” Sunil Gavaskar.
This will go down in history of Cricket as one of the bravest performances of all time.