As chairman of the ICC cricket committee, Kumble could inject much-needed dynamism

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Anil Kumble earned another feather in his cap by being appointed chairman of the ICC cricket committee. Arunabha Sengupta opines he is the right man to bring in innovation and well-thought-out changes to the cricket world.

He is the highest wicket-taker for India, by some distance. He has bowled India to more Test victories than any other – again by a long, long way. He is one of the only two bowlers in the history of Test cricket to capture 10 wickets in an innings. He has had a road named after him in the city of Bangalore.

After retirement he has been appointed as the president of Karnataka State Cricket Association, chairman of the National Cricket Academy and head of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) technical committee.

And now he has been appointed the chairman of International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket Committee.

Anil Kumble still goes about his work with quiet efficiency, letting the results do all the talking. His way of accomplishing things continues to be in the same vein in which he ran in to bowl his leg-breaks – relentless, untiring, focussed and driven. Hardly ever pausing to emit redundant sound bytes to echo his efforts.

That is not to say that he has no voice. He can be most precise, articulate and effective when it comes to airing views. As Ricky Ponting will remember, one astute sentence in Sydney 2008 had brought the censure of the whole world upon the Australian team.

But, the fact remains that Kumble is a man of action, and the few words he utters are measured and valuable. He goes and gets the job done, and in the effort and its realisation lies his satisfaction. His purpose has never quite been blurred by the sheen of glitz and glamour associated with the game.

Kumble is definitely the right man to give the body a facelift as well as genuine guidance in this regard. At 42, and a fit 42 at that, he is three decades younger than his immediate predecessor – Clive Lloyd. He is very much in touch with the current game, and has himself stood at the meeting point of the old world cricketing traditions and the new age avalanche of money, power and Twenty 20 – to feel the growing chasm under his own feet. He has been inside the system as a performer, and hence has a grasp of the positives and negatives of the current situation of the game, and is perhaps the best person to prescribe the balance that that seems to have left the cricket world, leaving it tottering on the edge of many faceted perceived evils.

Besides, with all the debate that ranges about the use of technology – the benefits and the downsides thereof – Kumble’s background as an engineer and hands on experience of the cricket related software will certainly serve him well. One can see him rolling up his sleeves and detecting the actual pros and cons without being dazzled by the promise of panacea or discouraged by the forbidding technicalities.

He has already made statements saying that he is eager “to bring fresh and modern ideas to the table to help take the game forward at the global level, besides meeting the various challenges it faces currently.”

With the likes of Andrew Strauss, Kumar Sangakkara, Mark Taylor, Dave Richardson, Tim May and Gary Kirsten to support him in his role, one can expect wisdom and innovation, the enthusiasm of youth and worldliness of experience mingled in the right proportions.

The Indian media is prone to make headlines with the more ebullient and colourful characters, including a few with suspect cricketing qualifications. Hence, Kumble has often been relegated to the scorecards, reaching the front page often, but only due to heroics with the ball, remembered for the minutest time-span that constitutes public memory. In that context, it is heartening to see that the cricketing world continues to recognise his value and has bestowed on him suitable honour and responsibility that does justice to his stature.

Through his deeds, and in the way he carried himself on the field and off it, Anil Kumble has earned the respect of his peers, predecessors and posterity. He is sure to have the ears and the support of his esteemed colleagues and seems to have all the makings to bring well thought out changes to the modern game.

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