Anil Kumble used to bowl bouncers, batsmen fended him like they’d do against Brett Lee: Sanjay Manjrekar
Almost all successful spinners wanted to be fast bowlers at some stage of their cricketing careers. They were either advised by their childhood coaches to switch to spin because of their physicality or were forced to tweak the ball on the team’s demands. But former India captain Anil Kumble is one of those rare cricketers who terrorised the batsmen like a fast bowler despite being a leg-spinner, indicated former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar.
In an interaction on Star Sports show Cricket Connected, Manjrekar was explaining his first impression of Kumble to former Australia pacer Brett Lee and former India left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra.
Manjrekar said Kumble, who already being talked about as a ‘tall leg-spinner who is not quite like a spinner’, used to bowl bouncers in first-class cricket.
“He was already been talked about by everyone that there is this tall leg-spinner but he is not quite like a leg-spinner.”
“And I remember there were some first-class performances where people were talking about him bowling bouncers on some of those domestic pitches,” said Manjrekar.
Manjrekar, who is now a renowned commentator, has played against Kumble in the Ranji Trophy while representing Mumbai. Kumble used to play for Karnataka. The two also played a lot of cricket together for India, 17 Tests and 40 ODIs to be exact.
Manjrekar said batsmen at times batsmen used to fend Kumble’s balls like they would do against Brett Lee, who was known for his express pace and often used to fight for the tag of being the fastest bowler of the world along with Pakistan Shoaib Akhtar.
“People were fending the ball as they would against Brett Lee. So, his reputation preceded him,” added Manjrekar.
Kumble, who retired from international cricket in 2008, still continues to India’s highest wicket-taker in both forms of the game. Kumble has 619 wickets in 132 Tests and 337 wickets in 271 ODIs.
Kumble had also served as India’s head coach between 2016 and 2017.
The legendary leg-spinner is currently the head coach of IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab.