As long as I am in the team, you will have no privacy...’ he would say, pointing to his camera, and we would laugh. It was wonderful,” writes Sachin Tendulkar in the foreword to Wide Angle, bowler Anil Kumble’s coffee-table book. The book is the outcome of pictures Kumble has been collecting for three decades in a cricket coffin box in his Bangalore home. It features around 350 pictures taken by him through his cricketing career.
It all began when he was 14. Kumble was leaving for a match in Srinagar and his elder brother Dinesh Kumble, now an entrepreneur and wildlife photographer, handed him a compact camera, telling him that it would help him keep in touch with his memories. Ever since, Kumble has rarely been seen without a camera slung around his neck during his free time with the team.
Click here to see photographs from the book
“They don’t have a choice but to smile when I click. And protests don’t work,” says Kumble, pointing out that he has been lucky to have been around to capture the careers of great cricketers over three decades. “The press try their best to imagine what happens off the field, here’s what happens,” he adds.
Apart from candid pictures of his teammates off the field, Kumble’s book makes a strong statement on wildlife and nature. “I have been fascinated by wildlife all through, but now, I feel the need to do something very concrete in the direction of conservation. It’s a matter very close to my heart,” says Kumble, who was appointed vice-chairman of the State Wildlife Board (Karnataka) in October. “Both Dinesh and I love taking breaks in the forest,” he says, adding that his family is forced into forest vacations because of them.
Kumble shared his thoughts and memories on some pictures that feature in the book and told Mint why they are special.