It was deja vu to see Anil Kumble sitting in the balcony, eyes shaded, jaws clenched, watching India get knocked out of World Cup 2007, just as he had done during the finals of World Cup 2003. The man responsible for a majority of India's Test match victories over nearly two decades was kept out of the action when it mattered the most in two World Cups in succession -- and for no good reason. Harbhajan Singh, who took his place both times, was ineffectual in the last World Cup and even more so this time. [Read Who takes the rap for these?]
Sourav Ganguly, who was the captain in 2003, might have had some justification for preferring Harbhajan, because his exploits against the Aussies in 2000 were still fresh, although even he should have noted how Harbhajan's spinning and wicket-taking abilities had fallen away after his wrist injury which preceded the World Cup. It is harder to fathom what made Rahul Dravid discount the value of his Karnataka mate.
Maybe Chappell and Dravid went by Kumble's record against the Lankans which is not so impressive. But that was because of those old masters Aravinda De Silva and Ranatunga. I wonder how Chamara De Silva and Tharanga, who had little exposure to Kumble, might have fared against that in-dipping flipper. Now we'll never know.