Cricketer Anil Kumble shows he can juggle the ball and the camera equally well, with his photography book Wide Angle which has some rare shots of Kumble's teammates

Interviews with Anil Kumble usually follow a set pattern. He speaks his mind, as strong words and candour light up the interaction. And when you think it's over, Kumble will shift his attention to the accompanying photojournalist. Soon there will be a discussion about angles, lighting, the clarity of images and shutter speed. Kumble will do a snap appraisal of the pictures and it's a trait that highlights the active photographer who lurks beneath his larger-than-life cricketer image.

And it was no surprise that Kumble the photographer has mined his memories through freeze frames of a two-decade career. The pictures ranging from his favourite lightning bolt across the Durban skyline, to Venkatesh Prasad in drag, are all part of “Wide Angle”, a book of photographs that was launched here on Wednesday.

“Photography has been a passion with me. During tours I used to record moments within the dressing room and in fact I used to tell the players, ‘As long as I am here with my camera, there won't be any privacy for you guys!' Now that I have retired, I hope they do have their privacy. Clicking pictures has always been a stress buster,” Kumble said.

Cricket spins off some funny characters and Kumble pointed out that players like Harbhajan Singh, Javagal Srinath, Venkatapathy Raju and Vinod Kambli added laughter to the dressing room. “Srinath once walked out as a sardar sporting Bhajji's turban! Guys like Raju and Kambli were great characters too and on tour, when you are away from the family, it helps to have these players around. They are all part of this album.”

The book is also a pointer to the friendship between Kumble and Sachin Tendulkar. It is a bond between two maestros based on mutual respect and the Mumbaikar has written the foreword for the book. “After the lightning bolt photograph, my second favourite is the picture I took of Sachin raising his bat after reaching his 35th hundred at the Feroz Shah Kotla, with the scoreboard in the background.”

The launch function was graced by Kumble's friend and rival Shane Warne and the Aussie gushed about the Bangalorean's cricketing acumen. “To play for 20 years needs skill and passion and Kumble has loads of that. There is not just one way to skin a cat and there are more ways to get a wicket and Kumble has shown that. When you are playing against him, you are up against a tough cricketer. It's been an honour to have him as my friend,” said Warne and Kumble returned the compliment, saying, “I wish I could spin like him.”

Meanwhile Kumble's bond with a few photojournalists remains strong as ever and he even named The Hindu's V.V. Krishnan as one of his mentors, besides elder brother Dinesh Kumble. The champion leg-spinner surely has come a long way from his days of a gawky teenager clicking pictures in an under-17 camp at Srinagar.

The book, priced at Rs. 5,900 can be purchased online through www.wideangle.canvera.com.