Preserved for posterity
Anil Kumble’s passion for photography made him the official photographer for the Indian cricket team.
Photo: Shaju John
Clicking away: Focussing on the right shot.
His intensity on the field is well documented in pictures and scorebooks. The flair he brings to a combat with his unmatched art of leg-spin makes Anil Kumble one of the most affable icons of modern cricket.
Never one to invite the attention of the match referee, never the one to court controversy, Kumble, with 616 Test wickets under his belt, is also a quiet man who loves to record history.
Kumble’s love for photography is not too well documented. Starting with a Hot Shot and now with a digital SLR, he is enjoying his stint as an “amateur” cameraman even as his professional deeds are shot for posterity by an army of lensmen. Kumble is not only photogenic but a thorough gentleman when it comes to understanding the needs of the cameramen.
Part of the journey
“I always carried a camera. Even when I was playing under-17,” recalls the genial leg-spinner who famously took 10 Pakistan Test wickets in an innings at the Ferozeshah Kotla. “I had a Hot Shot in my kit bag on the England tour (in 1990). Clicking pictures was not a passion those days. It is now a passion for me but a camera has always been part of my cricket journey,” he adds.
Known for his obsession with perfection, Kumble, surprisingly, did not take any lessons in photography.
“I just observed others and studied manuals. It has been an exciting learning process for me. The results have been good. For me, a picture means memory and I don’t really concentrate on quality.”
One remembers an afternoon 10 years ago at Harare when Kumble took snaps of the glorious jacaranda trees and the flea market in a park behind the team hotel.
Another time he took off as the Dunedin Test in 1998 was halted due to rain and returned triumphant, having clicked a stunning picture of an albatross. “I love that picture,” he remembers.
“Pictures can say a lot. I like pictures of nature, landscapes, events and cricket tours,” says the Indian test captain. He can be seen clicking from the balcony every time his batsman scores a century.
The one time Kumble knocked a century in a Test at The Oval last year, team physio John Gloster was quick to capture the moment in his camera. “I have one of my own great moments too in my camera,” Kumbles says with pride.
For many years he has been the team’s official photographer, taking pictures at get-togethers, winning moments, award functions...
When India won a test at Port of Spain in 2002, he was dropped from the playing eleven but clicked away happily at the presentation ceremony.
“I also have the last wicket from that Test,” he recalls. It has been tough for the past one year when captaincy duties have not allowed him to indulge much in photography.
His best picture? “Sachin Tendulkar’s 35th Test century. I have Sachin (at the bottom of the pic) raising the bat to the dressing room and the scoreboard in the background. I used a smaller zoom. Even the papers next day didn’t have that picture.”
And one more picture of “lightning” from his hotel room in Durban. “That picture is very special.”
A picture of a leopard and some funny ones are dear to him. “Srinath in a turban that Bhajji helped him tie. You can’t recognise Sri.”
How about an exhibition? “Will do it somewhere, someday.”
This column features the little-known aspects of well known personalities.
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