The thing that stuck me from day one was his fierce commitment. His intent was unmistakable even during the early days, though not in full grasp of his craft then he would make up by his never say die attitude. To me he was the embodiment of a foot soldier, always putting his hands up when the team needed him most. His batting his Test cricket was or rather is fighting proof of his fine qualities.
His heroic show in the West Indies in 2002 will remain a part of Indian cricket folklore. With a jaw heavily strapped, he continued to bowl and that to me was the most defining moment of his long and distinguished career thus far. Anil the human was no different from Anil the bowler. The aggression was the only ingredient that went amiss. He struck to the basics as he does on the field has always been courteous and was always willing to help, be it his friends on the field or off it.
Now that he has wished to hang his boots from the maddening world of one-day cricket, he can spend more time with the goodwill causes he is involved with, his kids and more importantly his new found passion: photography. What this decision of Anil also means is an extended test career and Team India could not have hoped for it better in the longer version.
Then there were other things that dominated the headlines and Ian Chappell's call for Sachin Tendulkar's retirement was the biggest apart from the one that hinged around Kumble. Ian is one of the cricketer's I respect and admire. He has always comes across as a very honest bloke who speaks his mind but retirement to me is always a personal thing and it is the player concerned who will be in the best position to take a call. No one will know Sachin's body and reflex batter than him.
My cricketing acumen might be spoofed when I say Sachin has at least two more seasons of top flight cricket left in him but that is the truth. His boyish enthusiasm and his liking towards being in the thick of things has not diminished a wee bit, the only concern has been the way he has deserted his natural flamboyance. He has taken too much on his shoulders for long, it is time he gives him the freedom to play his natural and attacking game and believe me he has something more to offer Indian cricket.
Sachin with his experience would be the father figure to guide the team out of the mess they are in at the moment. His experience would come in handy. For a player who has achieved so much on the cricket field, it is imperative for him to leave on a high.
Then there was some cricket after all at the World Cup। England won a cricket match but lacked the intensity. If the eternal bridesmaid of World Cup cricket have to take a leap they have to be more assertive like the Aussies। They have a slim outside chance to make the knockouts but for that to happen they have to be more aggressive otherwise the script would not be any different much like the previous eight editions.
all images courtesy cricinfo.com