Anil Kumble needs no introduction. The former India skipper is the third highest Test wicket-taker of all time and has won more Test matches than any other Indian bowler. His talent and technique is only surpassed by his passion and hunger for the game.
Ahead of the upcoming ODI World Cup, the 44-year-old has written an open letter to Indian cricket fans, and his passion reflects in the letter. Here it is:
The world looks on as eleven men walk out onto the field to fight for pride and for their country. They know the hours, days, weeks of hard work and training go into making each one of us fit to be our best on the field. They also know the passion and intensity with which we play each match, each ball and each run.
But do they know what drives us to do this, day in and day out? What keeps that fire burning within our souls to step out onto each field of green, wearing the familiar yet coveted jersey of blue?
No they don’t. They forget that while the game is all about the players on the pitch, the game is incomplete without one more participant, one who’s probably the reason we bowl faster, hit harder, score better.
Let me tell you this. What they often forget, and what we know to be true, is that cricket is as much about you, as it is about us.
We know it’s not just us who wear the jersey as we step out onto the field.
We know it’s not just us who scream at the top of our lungs when their wicket goes down.
We know it’s not just ours hearts that skip a beat each time there’s a close call.
We know a victory means the world to eleven and a billion souls.
We know a loss angers not just us, but even you.
And we know that anger comes from nothing but love for the beautiful game and your quest to see us perform and give our best.
We know we are connected.
Connected by something that goes deeper than just painting your face with the colours of the flag, or holding your breath while each ball is being bowled. We’re connected by a passion and a mission that transcends a six, a wicket or a run onto a single collective dream that binds us all to this wonderful game called cricket. A dream to perform better and to be the best.
And at each stage, you, dear fans, have been at our side.
This time round, the battle for Our Cup rages Down Under. We won’t have ten thousand voices chanting in unison as we step up to the crease. We won’t see an ocean of blue roaring our battle cry. And we want you there, doing that. Just that. The thing that you do best!
We want you to be there in spirit. In heart. Heck, we want you there in person!
Do you know why?
Because it is you, the fans, who make victories greater than just lifting a Golden Cup.
You are the World that makes the Cup great for us.
Yes, you, each of you, are the greatest fans ever!
So, are you ready to battle Down Under with us, and cling on to the Cup like never before?