Today, the Indian cricket team will, in all probability, break their 22-year jinx of not winning a Test series in Sri Lanka. Their last Test series win there was in 1993 when a certain Vinod Kambli starred for India with two centuries in the series.
Kambli qualifies to be a well sought-after expert for the various television channels to talk about that 1993 conquest and how that team, which he was a key member of, compares with the current side led by Virat Kohli. Instead, Kambli is in the news for allegedly, along with his wife Andrea, torturing and locking up their domestic help. Yesterday, this newspaper quoted the domestic help as saying that Kambli threatened to beat her up in public when she refused to fetch alcohol for him.
The law will take its course in this incident and it’s too early to deem anyone guilty, but Kambli has courted controversy far too often in recent years to emerge smelling of roses. Two years ago, it was reported that Kambli refused to pay his building maintenance and had arguments with fellow residents of his Bandra dwelling and security staff. It is learnt that his neighbours are nothing short of fed up of his antics.
Kambli used to be spoken of in the same breath as Sachin Tendulkar. Clearly, their friendship has not been enduring and the duo have nothing in common now in terms of personality.
Kambli has been much loved by Mumbai’s cricketing fraternity. It did not matter to them that he wasted his cricketing talent and ability, which could have made him one of the most successful batsmen in Indian cricket. It did not matter to them that Kambli loved being gregarious and was the centre of attraction. But it does bother them if he makes news for all the wrong reasons. Fans wanted to remember Kambli as a left-handed batsman who could destroy any attack on his day, especially spin bowling.
Can Kambli turn over a new leaf? Punters won’t be betting on that, but like in Kambli's best-loved game, there’s always hope.