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Kumble, the old-war horse, ready to lead India

The newly-appointed Test captain, a veteran of 118 Tests, has touched many glorious heights in his 17-year long career.

cricket Updated: Nov 09, 2007 16:05 IST

He is one of the senior most players in the Indian team and the most successful bowler in the country. Newly-appointed Test captain Anil Kumble, a veteran of 118 Tests, has touched many glorious heights in his 17-year long career.

Kumble came close to becoming the captain on many occasions in his career, but the Bangalorean finally got the most cherished job in Indian cricket at the fag end of his career and after retiring from one-dayers. He succeeded his Karnataka teammate Rahul Dravid only after Sachin Tendulkar declined the offer and the selectors preferred to rely on his experience.

Thirty-seven-year-old Kumble, appointed captain for three Tests against Pakistan, has been a match-winner for India all these years.

Often criticised for not being a big turner of the ball, Kumble became India's first spinner to claim 300 Test wickets in 2001 and a year later, he repeated the feat in one-dayers.

He also went past Glenn McGrath's 563 Test wickets in August this year to move to number three on the all-time list, only behind Shane Warne (708) and Muttiah Muralitharan (702), emphasising his contribution to spin bowling's golden era.

Kumble is also one of the four bowlers, alongside Richard Hadlee, Warne and Muralitharan, and the only Indian bowler ever to have taken five wickets in a Test innings more than 30 times.

Above all, he is the only second bowler after Jim Laker to take 10 wickets in an innings, which came against Pakistan at Ferozeshah Kotla here in 1999.

He also holds the world record for the largest number of caught-and-bowled dismissals (28) in Tests. Kumble's tenacity as a bowler is well-known. The Test match against the West Indies in which, after having broken his jaw by a Mervyn Dillon bouncer, he came to bowl with bandage around his face and even picked the wicket of Brian Lara will be forever etched in the memory of Indian cricket lovers.

However, the leg-spinner's most cherished feat is his maiden Test century against England which came in his 118th match this season, especially when no other batsman was able to score a hundred in the entire Test series.

He made his first-class debut for Karnataka against Hyderabad in November 1989 taking four wickets. He also took his first 50 Test wickets in just 10 Tests, becoming the fastest Indian bowler to achieve the milestone.