The former Indian skipper and coach, Anil Kumble is celebrating his 47th birthday today. The former leg-spinner is known for his heroics on the field. He is only the second bowler to take 10 wickets in a Test innings. On his birthday, Cricwizz takes a look at Kumble’s qualities that made him the toughest cricketer the world has seen.
Commitment: Who can forget the scene where Anil Kumble comes on to bowl with a highly strapped face due to a broken jaw against West Indies in the Antigua Test in 2002. Kumble not only bowled 14 consecutive overs with a broken jaw, but also took the wicket of Brain Lara. It was his commitment to his team, his country that pushed him to come on to bowl despite a broken jaw, despite a dull draw on the cards. Kumble had said at the time, “At least I can now go home with the thought that I tried my best.” Commitment to the game is something that young cricketers can learn from Kumble.
Sportsman’s spirit: Kumble led India on the controversial tour of Australia in 2008 where the infamous ‘Monkey-gate’ scandal happened. He led with aplomb, never for once compromising on sportsman’s spirit. After the controversial loss in Sydney where umpiring decisions went against Team India, Kumble led India to victory in the Perth Test and answered all the controversies and sledging with astounding performances. Kumble’s leadership during that tour stood out.
Respect: Under Anil Kumble’s tenure as coach, India achieved great heights in Test cricket, winning all but one Test during his reign. He adopted a disciplined approach as he wanted his players to give nothing but best on the field. However, his methods were not liked by captain Kohli and there were quite a few controversies just before the renewal of his contract. Post India’s loss in the 2017 Champions Trophy final, Kumble chose to step down from the post of coach and walk away on his own terms, just like how he gave up international cricket when he was still ruling the bowling charts.
Fighting spirit: Kumble is known for his fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude. During the 2004 Sydney Test against Australia, India needed to take 10 wickets on the last day of the match to win the series. Kumble took on the challenge and told skipper Sourav Ganguly not to worry, he will hold one end up and pressurise Australia to commit mistakes. Kumble bowled unchanged, rolling his arms for 42 overs for 4 wickets. However, retiring skipper Steve Waugh staved off series defeat with a knock of 80.
Not only with the ball, Kumble was always ready to put a heavy price on his wickets and contribute to the team’s cause with the bat. He along with Javagal Srinath led India to a memorable win over Australia in Bangalore in a Titans Cup league match in 1996. Kumble also has a hundred to his credit in Tests, scoring 110 not out against England at the Oval in 2007.
Passion: Kumble has been highly passionate about cricket. He was always regarded a Test bowler, despite taking 337 wickets in ODIs. He took on the challenge of playing T20 cricket and led Royal Challengers Bangalore to the final of IPL 2009 where they lost to champions Deccan Chargers. Kumble was given the man of the match award for his 4/16 in the final. He continued to be connected with cricket in some way or the other even after his retirement. His passion about the game stands out among all his other qualities.