Anil Kumble, considered one of the greatest match-winners for India in their cricketing history, turns 50 on October 17. On the occasion of his birthday, here are some snippets of a legendary career that transformed India into world beaters at a time when they could win only at home. However, in home conditions and with spinning tracks aplenty, there was none better than Anil Kumble to run through the opposition.
619 wickets in Tests. 337 in ODIs. In an international career spanning close to 15 years, there has been no greater match-winner than Anil Kumble for the Indian cricket team. On spinning conditions, his fast legspin would be deadly and opposition teams would simply be flattened.
Anil Kumble transformed the Indian cricket team during his playing days with his attacking, aggressive and never-say-die attitude towards bowling. His records may potentially stand the test of time as he is third on the all-time list of wicket-takers while he had held the record for the best individual haul by an Indian in ODIs with 6/12 against West Indies in Kolkata in 1994 before it was broken by Stuart Binny.
On the occasion of his 50th birthday, Kumble, who is currently the coach of the Kings XI Punjab side, here is presenting some of the snippets in Kumble’s magical career. Anil Kumble is nicknamed ‘Jumbo’ because of his big heart and attitude and he is also an avid photographer. Kumble has also played in the IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore and has also been one of the coaching staff members of the Mumbai Indians team following his stint away from the game of cricket.
Anil Kumble began his playing career in 1990 as a bespectacled legspinner from the state of Karnataka. Initially wanting to become a fast bowler, Kumble switched to legspin. Although he had a modest start to his career, it was not until the 1993/94 season where he established himself as one of the core members of the Indian cricket team.
Anil Kumble’s first major achievement was to pick up 6/12 in the Hero Cup final against West Indies in Kolkata in 1993/94 and it was one of the best hauls by an Indian bowler in ODI cricket. The record stood for over two decades before it was broken by Stuart Binny against Bangladesh in 2014.
Anil Kumble is best remembered for showing immense guts and bravery on the cricket field. During the Antigua Test against the West Indies in 2002, Kumble was struck on the jaw by a bouncer and it required surgery. He got two wickets, including Brian Lara cheaply as India drew the match. Kumble missed the remainder of the series but his effort with a fractured jaw symbolised the guts and determination of ‘Jumbo’.
Towards the end of his career, Anil Kumble ticked several other boxes as well. After 110 Tests, Anil Kumble scored a Test century for India during the Oval Test in 2007. Remarkably, in that series, no one else had scored a century for India. He also had a good stint with captaincy, helping India become the first Asian nation to win a Test match against Australia in their fortress of the WACA in Perth.
However, injuries plagued him towards the later part of his career and in the Test match against Australia in 2008 in New Delhi, he announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. Kumble was paraded around the ground like a true hero. Happy 50th Birthday, Anil Kumble. Truly, India’s greatest match winner.