This story on VV Kumar featured in the front page of Indian Express-City Express on Wednesday 8th August 2008
Wednesday August 8 2007 10:24 IST
Viswanathan Vaman Kumar (VV Kumar to his friends) turned 72 recently but when you meet him it’s easy to find as to why age is no deterrent to this all-time great leggie. He can still turn his arm over and make the youngsters dance to his ‘looping spin’.
His eyes lighten up when you talk to him about ‘loop and turn’ and he instantly hits back saying ‘‘That was our foundation, but it is a forgotten word these days.’’Thirty years after his retirement from first class cricket, VV Kumar can still bowl 15 overs at a stretch and make the ball turn and bounce.
When quipped on this, he says, ‘‘When you do something that is close to your heart, you don’t feel the tiredness. When I played, I enjoyed the game. Total commitment along with the spirit of enjoyment is my secret.’’
During the 1960s and 1970s, which he calls the Golden Era of TN cricket, VV Kumar and Venkataraghavan spun many a team out, working in tandem, after Kalli (Kalyanasundaram) had done the early damage.VV Kumar says with pride, ‘‘Look at the score cards of the 1960s and 1970s and you will find very few big scores by the opposition. Such was our bowling strength.’’
VV Kumar is convinced that spinners are made, not born.
Any regret from his cricketing days? A hesitant VV Kumar confides, ‘‘It came towards the end of the 1970s. I had played for over two decades for Madras/ Tamil Nadu and taken well over 400 Ranji wickets. TNCA did not tell me that I was going to be dropped. And there was a big newspaper article that said ‘VV Kumar dropped’. I thought it was a poor way to treat a player who had served you with glory for over 20 years. It remains my saddest moment in cricket.’’
Kumar feels that spin bowling is all about creating ideas to get a batsman out. Spin bowling is not devoid of ideas. It is a game played in the mind. Kumar says, with a touch of sadness, that today it is all about containing runs and keeping it tight. ‘‘It’s flat and straight these days.’’