Happy Birthday Anil Kumble: A look at his illustrious career
Legendary Indian spinner Anil Kumble turned 48 today, and there are not enough words to express our gratitude to this monumental cricketing figure, who contributed so much to Indian cricket. Kumble made his debut in 1990 and retired from international cricket in 2008, enriching Indian cricket with 18 years of service. Here we look at the records and important moments from his cricketing career.
Kumble belongs to the most elite class among Test cricket bowlers, bagging 619 wickets in 132 Tests. He is only behind two bowlers who are considered the greatest ever- Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan (800) and Australia's Shane Warne (708). His consistency, adaptability, and confidence helped build his success, with his Test career being laden with an astounding 35 five-wicket hauls in an innings.
During the days of Ganguly, Sehwag, Sachin, Laxman, Rahul- the 'Fab Five' of Indian cricket, there were numerous occasions where Kumble took up the task of saving his team. Once he bowled with a broken jaw during a Test at Antigua (2002), another time he bowled 72 overs in a single innings, and once with 11 stitches on his hand. A true fighter indeed!
Saeed Anwar, Shahid Afridi, Ijaz Ahmed, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Yousuf, Moin Khan, Saleem Malik, Wasim Akram, Mushtaq Ahmed, Saqlain Mushtaq- what is common about these cricketers? They all fell prey to Kumble, who single-handedly dismantled the Pakistani batting order on February 7, 1999, at Feroz Shah Kotla. Kumble is the second bowler ever after Jim Laker to collect 10 scalps in a Test innings.
Kumble was the first spinner to claim 200 ODI scalps. Along with Murali, he has the highest caught and bowled wickets in Tests (35). He picked 56 ODI wickets at Sharjah- the most by any Indian on a particular ground. Kumble has the third highest number of international wickets (956). Further, Kumble also has the highest number of ODI wickets by an Indian (334).
Anil's legacy is not just in his records and achievements on the cricketing field, but also how he is as a person. Kumble has been a quiet fighter, never showing off or sledging, and always treated the game and the opposition with utmost respect. He is one of the greatest match winners for India and will be remembered and respected across borders.