Anil Kumble, the right-arm leg spin bowler, is the most successful bowler India has produced. With 956 international wickets, he is the highest wicket-taker from the country and third highest overall. He has picked 619 scalps in Tests and 337 in ODIs – best figures for any Indian. He also has to his name eight ten-wicket hauls and 35 five-wicket hauls in Tests. As Kumble turns 50, let us recall some of his finest moments in cricket.
It was the winter of 1993, when batting first India made 225 in 50 overs, a target which was not easily defendable. Chasing the target, West Indies got a good start and were 57 for 1 at one point. But Kumble displayed an incredible performance to pick the last six wickets, while giving away just 12 runs in 6.1 overs. WI were all out for 123. Man of the Match was Anil Kumble.
India set a target of 256 for New Zealand, which the host would have achieved if not for Kumble’s heroics. Kumble not just picked 5 wickets in the match, he bowled at an economy rate of 3.30 and got his team victory by a margin of 12 runs in the end. Again, Kumble was awarded the man of the match.
Though Kumble has unparalleled achievements in ODI cricket, his records in the Tests are just out of the world. Let’s see some of his best Test spells.
This was the first time Kumble picked a 10-wicket haul in Test cricket. It was only his 14th match. He claimed four wickets in the first innings and backed it up by taking seven more in the second. India had to bat only once in the match and Sri Lanka were all out in both innings. Kumble was the man of the match.
This was the brightest moment of Kumble’s scintillating career, when he created history by taking all 10 wickets in an innings against Pakistan. He is the only the second man in history to achieve the feat, after Jim Laker. It was also India’s first Test win over Pakistan in 19 years. Anil Kumble, once again, was the best player in the match.
It was the fourth Test match of India’s tour to Australia in 2003-04. The pitch favoured the batsmen and saw high scores by individuals and teams, which ultimately resulted in a draw. However, Kumble’s spell was one to remember. He picked eight wickets in the first and four in the second innings, one of his best performances against Australia. He was the best bowler in the match. Although it was Sachin Tendulkar who was adjudged man of the match owing to his double century (241*) in the first innings, followed by another half century in the second. But Kumble’s contribution was crucial in the entire series, that ended in a draw.