Anil Kumble will always be remembered as one of the greatest spinners the game of cricket has ever seen. He was a brilliant servant for Indian cricket for 18 years and achieved a lot for his nation.
However, his biggest achievement apart from his 619 Test wickets and 337 ODI wickets; was the 10 wickets in an innings against Pakistan in Delhi Test in 1999.
Talking as a chief guest at the 18th edition of the Shyam Bhatia Cricket Awards, Anil Kumble recalled his record making day and shared some tidbits from that event.
“I was destined to take 10 wickets that day,” Kumble said. His 10 wicket haul made Kumble only the second man after England’s Jim Laker to pick up all the 10 wickets in an innings, something Laker achieved against Australia in 1956.
Anil Kumble said, “Pakistan had to get a 400-plus target to win the match and were hundred odd for no loss at lunch. We had a chat at the dressing room that let’s give it a go — and I had to put my hands up as I was the senior spinner in the team and Harbhajan was only three to four Tests old. I just had to keep things tight and once we got (Shahid) Afridi out, things fell into place.”
Kumble also called Sachin Tendulkar his lucky charm that day, saying, “Every time Sachin took my sweater and handed it over to the umpire, I was getting a wicket. He was my lucky charm that day.”
Talking about been made captain during the last stage of his international career, Kumble said, “It (the captaincy) came late, it came to me by default. Sachin had done the job, so had Sourav and Rahul did not want to do it anymore. Dhoni was still young and he had just won the T20 World Cup and they didn’t want to burden him so soon. So there I was and I was given the job.”
When asked by the host about bowling with a broken jaw against the West Indies, Kumble said, “I thought it was the only way to get Brian Lara out, as he could be distracted by my bandage from watching the ball.”
He also revealed the factors behind India becoming the powerhouse and financial centre of the world cricket.
Kumble said, “I would say the journey started when the commercial angle started coming to the fore during our hosting the 1996 World Cup. The game has now gone to the hinterland of the country and that’s a great sign. Who would have thought even 20 years back that we would get a captain from Ranchi?”