Cricket is indeed a great leveller. Ask Vinod
Kambli. Nobody is exempt from the game of
cricketing musical chairs. Hero one day, a
fairytale gone sour the next. Vinod Kambli and
Sachin Tendulkar entered the cricketing firmament
with a bang, posting a mammoth 664-run partnership
in an inter-school game in 1987-88. Vinod was as
talented as Sachin, but failed to live up to
people's (and the selectors') expectations. Despite
several setbacks, he still determined as ever to
fight and help the Mumbai team to maintain the high
standards it has set for itself.
Kambli is a genius. He came from nowhere and
established his place by sheer dint of talent
alone. His only identity, security and insurance
for a better life was the game of cricket. That he
shared a record partnership with Sachin, his bosom
pal, in school, was one thing, but making the grade
on his own, was something else. Ask Achrekar Sir,
His fancy for earrings, a trendy lifestyle and
bizarre hairstyles interspersed with a shaven head
notwithstanding, Kambli is an individual who has
loads of common sense. It is this that will help
him in the days to come. He has had his share of
problems, but he ought to leave them at home and
let his bat do all the talking. He should cool his
heels, think positively, hone his skills, and
practise hard to overcome his well-publicised
weaknesses against the short-pitched stuff and the
moving delivery outside the off-stump.
Sachin and Vinod are two very different sides of
the same coin. Sachin has a sharp brain, a wise
head on his shoulders and has gone on to become one
of the best batsmen in the world. On the other
hand, Kambli is too flamboyant, too carefree,
fun-loving and even unpredictable. If he hadn't
been a cricketer, he would surely have made it big
in showbiz with his colourful clothes and other
paraphernalia. He can dance well too, but perish
the thought. What he needs to do now is dance to
the demands of the game. Else, he would be history.
That would be disastrous for him and for the game
of cricket itself.
A hero, forever
All is not lost for Kambli by way of public
adulation. He is still a crowd-puller. There are
millions of cricket fans who still want to watch
him for his cricket. He remains the backbone of the
Mumbai team and has played some extraordinary
innings in crisis situations. Now that he is
recovering from suspected jaundice, virtually
everybody who follows cricket in Mumbai is praying
for his speedy recovery.
It's not going to be easy for him to regain his
spot in the Indian team. But for a man with his
talent, nothing is impossible. He has in him to be
his own master and not a mere shadow of his own
self. The Mumbai team needs him at the moment.
Vinod, get well soon and then start scoring runs by
the tons. You have done it in the past and there is
no reason why you can't do it again.
How will you do it? Very simple. Just be yourself.
Be Kambli the go-getter, not the shadow-man!