When we talk about biggest wastes of talent in Indian cricket ,Vinod Kambli is certainly one of the players that comes in our mind . and why not ? the kind of talent that he posssesesd , he had the ability to hit a 75 ball 100 in test cricket in that era .
Besides his memorable unbeaten 664 run partnership with Sachin Tendulkar in the harris shield trophy match where he scored 349 runs along with Sachin who scored 326 runs , Kambli also took 6 wickets for just 37 runs . perhaps this was the reason that Ramakant Achrekar , the guru of these two players , considered Vinod Kambli more talented than Sachin. But today ,Sachin Tendulkar is called the God of cricket , while Vinod Kambli is counted among the failed the cricketers .
After making his Test debut in `1993 , Kambli matched Don Bradman and Wally Hammond by hammering successive double test centuries , almost overshadowing Sachin Tendulkar for a brief period . having that said , he did absolutely nothing outside the Indian Subcontinent .
At a time , when he enjoyed a lot of attention , fan following and adulation , he somehow lost his head . he got himself into a lot of trouble with his off field activities and started making headlines for many wrong reasons including alcohol ,affairs and brawls . bad attitude , lack of discipline and lack of work ethic made things worse for him.
Not to mention , his technique had flaws like the high backlift where fast bowlers were able to get through the gate.
To add to his misery , this low coincided with a poor run with the bat where he was bounced out by curtly Ambrose at home , in 1994-95 season. He had played what turned out to be his last test in 1995 , aged only 23.
What happened thereafter ? He was dropped from the one day side after 1996 World cup on disciplinary grounds and since then he could never cement his place . The same world cup had also seen Kambli publically breaking down after the disgrace exit of the Indian cricket team in the semifinal and not-so-publically , allegedly, creating a showdown in the team as well .
If this wasn’t enough, he made some controversial statements against Sachin Tendulkar in a TV Show named Sach ka Samna where he alleged Sachin for not supporting him in his difficult times
After he was terminated from the national team for one last time in 2000 due to his poor form and poor record , India saw the emergence of two future greats namely Rahul Dravid and Saurav Gaunguly .
Kambli later blamed his own failures on his captain , teammates , selectors and cricket board.
To conclude , Kambli was a colossal waste of talent . he let success go to his head and was an entitled brat. I remember a comment he made after his breakthrough double tons saying something to the effect of” Sachin took the elevator and I took the stairs but we’re both here now “.
I think his cricketing journey is a perfect example of how hard work and strong ethics beats talent regardless of what anyone says.Having a lot of talent makes you complacent as it gives you the false illusion and security that you are better than everyone else.