If cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties, selectorial proof of it comes from the appointment of Anil Kumble as India’s next Test captain. All Thursday, the TV channels were “breaking news” of Mahendra Singh Dhoni as if an announcement was just a formality. By day’s end, a googly—and India’s most successful bowler was being called upon to do what neither of his great contemporaries, Shane Warne or Muttiah Muralitharan, had been: to lead the country.
For the son of Bangalore—a son-in-law of Mysore!—the captaincy is high honour indeed towards the fag end of a long and fine career. Not too many bowlers, and even fewer spinners, have donned the skipper’s hat in recent history for fear that they might overbowl or underbowl themselves. But Kumble is a strong character with a heart of steel and an unflinching will to win. Will Kumble be a good captain? Will a bowler be able to lead from the front? Will the pressures of leading the side affect his own performance? Will Kumble be able to stave off the pressures that consumed State-mate Rahul Dravid and deterred the mighty Sachin Tendulkar?