Trouble Makers Must Learn From Kumble

Harbhajan Singh escaped a serious charge thanks to the lack of evidence and India’s strangle-hold on world cricketing revenue. The Indian Board should seize the moment to caution its players rather than celebrate the verdict of the Bhajji hearing. The BCCI should be tough and send home the message to its players prior to the ODI series that on the field antics will not be tolerated.

Sreesanth (Team India’s other problem child) meanwhile continues to make ridiculous statements. The young man has a lot of talent but clearly seems to be getting way ahead of himself. In Ishant Sharma India has found a fine Test class bowler. He along with Zaheer Khan, RP Singh and Irfan Pathan make a good bowling combination. Sreesanth should focus his energies on the game and try and secure his place in the team instead of making pointless statements that expose his immaturity rather than show his toughness.

Harbhajan Singh’s performance has started to drop over the years, particularly in Test matches. His performance at Adelaide being a case in point. He is no longer the force he was in 2001 when the Aussies visited India. In fact, Murali Karthik or Romesh Powar are equally good if not better options today for the Test team.

Both these players need to look no further than their Test captain Anil Kumble for model behavior.

Anil Kumble personifies an impressive blend of controlled aggression, remarkable fighting spirit and boundless commitment packaged in a pleasant personable manner. Instead of screaming and making faces or hurling abuses at the Aussies he delivered a killer punch by famously stating after the Sydney Test that “only one team was playing in the right spirit”. This series was a test of character both on and off the field and there is no question that Kumble left Ponting far behind on all fronts. After two successive defeats at Melbourne and Sydney, Kumble rallied his boys to an inspired win at Perth followed by a fighting performance at Adelaide.

Ponting and his boys on the other hand had to face plenty of flak after the Sydney Test. His team never really recovered from the aftermath of the Sydney Test and have been falling apart ever since. They succumbed in Perth and appeared frightened of losing at Adelaide (as rightly put by Sehwag). Gilchrist has decided to retire, while Shaun Tait is on an indefinite break. Hogg was a dismal failure and Australia minus Stewart MacGill seems to have no spin options while the backup for Brett Lee seems wanting. The leader of the world’s strongest team finds himself struggling at the cross roads, while India’s Anil Kumble seems like a definite role model.

Harbhajan, Sreesanth and the like will do well to learn a lesson or two from Kumble. Let us hope that the ODI series is more about cricket and less about on the field gimmicks.

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