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Friday, Dec 13, 2019

‘He was supposed to drop the catch,’ Anil Kumble reveals startling details of historic 10-wicket haul against Pakistan

Former India leg-spinner Anil Kumble revealed that the Indian team had planned to let go of catches from other bowlers when he had picked up 9 Pakistani wickets back in 1999 in New Delhi

cricket Updated: Nov 19, 2019 11:18 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Anil Kumble being chanted by team mates after a Ten Wicket bowling spell against Pakistan in the Capital -
Anil Kumble being chanted by team mates after a Ten Wicket bowling spell against Pakistan in the Capital - (HT Photo by HC Tiwari.)

Former India leg-spinner Anil Kumble revealed how his teammate Sadagopan Ramesh almost spoiled his historic 10-wicket haul against Pakistan in 1999 at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi. In a candid conversation with former India batsman VVS Laxman, Kumble said the Indian team had decided to let him complete his 10-wicket haul after he had dismissed Saqlain Mushtaq - the 9th Pakistani wicket.

Ramesh, however, went for a catch off Javagal Srinath’s bowling after Waqar Younis top edged one. Thankfully, he could not reach the ball as it landed in no man’s land.

“He was supposed to drop the catch , that was the plan,” said Kumble in the Very Very Special Stories show hosted by Laxman.

“I don’t think ramesh heard the team plan, that’s how he is. He probably forgot that I had 9 out of 9 and was looking for the 10th, so he ran for the catch,” Kumble added.

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A few minutes later, Kumble got the wicket of Wasim Akram to become the first Indian and only the second in the world after England’s Jim Laker to pick up all 10 wickets in an innings. India won that match by 212 runs.

But Kumble’s 10 wicket-haul was not a walk in the park. Saeed Anwar and Shahid Afridi had given Pakistan a brilliant start, not losing a wicket in the first session. The game turned after lunch, when Kumble dismissed Afridi for 41. “I was not at all happy during the lunch break. I remember our coach Anshuman Gaekwad coming and telling us to lift our game. I knew I had to take the responsibility as I was the senior spinner. I felt if I can get one on that 4th track then I could breakthrough,” Kumble said.

Laxman-Kumble’s first encounter

Laxman also narrated the story of his first match against Anil Kumble in 1995 in the Challengers Trophy. “It was a bad memory. I did well for Hyderabad, and India U 19 so was picked for the India B side in the Challengers Trophy. The match was happening in the Lal Bahadur Shastri Stadium. I can never forget the sound of the ball hitting my pad... Against a leggie you go on the backfoot try to hit it square of the wicket... I did that in the previous ball but the next ball struck my pads even before my bat came down, Anil was quick in the air,” said Laxman.

“I had heard about you. I knew you were a backfoot player. Probably that’s how I used to set up a player. I just got lucky that day and I also remember coming to you after that match telling not to play on the backfoot,” Kumble said.

Laxman also revealed that he was first introduced to Kumble back in 1993 in the Gymkhana grounds in Hyderabad in the presence of former India cricketers Venkatapathy Raju and Javagal Srinath.

Laxman, who represented India 134 Tests, played 84 of those with Anil Kumble. Laxman also played under Kumble’s captaincy between 2006 and 2008. Kumble retired in late 2008 as the highest wicket-taker for India with 619 wickets to his name.