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‘I needed to rethink on how to bowl in this version’

Surprisingly, it took Anil Kumble six matches to break his wicket drought in the IPL. But once he castled Jaipur’s Asnodkar, there has been no stopping him. G Krishnan reports.
Hindustan Times | By G Krishnan, Chennai
UPDATED ON MAY 23, 2008 12:17 AM IST

Surprisingly, it took Anil Kumble six matches to break his wicket drought in the IPL. But once he castled Jaipur’s Swapnil Asnodkar — his first victim — there has been no stopping him. The India Test skipper is now back to making those crucial breakthroughs and the number is swelling with every game.

After his one-wicket spell against Jaipur, Kumble struck twice against Delhi, but it was his three strikes against Chennai on Wednesday that steered Bangalore to a rare win. A measly spell of 4-0-14-3 was enough to win the Man-of-the-Match award.

“It was a very important win for us, Kumble told HT on Thursday before leaving for Bangalore. “We failed to win in our last five attempts and were right at the bottom. We needed that kind of a fillip. When they reached 60 without loss, we needed some luck, which we have lacked throughout the tournament.”

The 37-year-old said that despite struggling initially, he knew he would claim that first wicket at one stage or the other. I decided that I needed to rethink on how to bowl in this version, and I also knew that a wicket had to come at some stage. I was perhaps thinking a couple of steps ahead. Even in T20, it is important to bowl normally. You have to bowl to a good line and length. Though more good balls are put away in this version than any other. But if you keep bowling good balls, wickets will eventually come your way.”

India’s highest wicket-taker in the longer version of the game said that he has been enjoying the T20 experience. “It was a bit tough initially, but the experience has been good. The best part of a T20 game is that you don’t actually feel like you have played a game! Of course, you have to be pumped up and intense throughout because of the nature of this version, but physically, it is not too demanding. “It has been great fun, the atmosphere has been terrific, playing under lights in front of full houses.”

With youngsters like Piyush Chawla and Amit Mishra enjoying some success in the tournament, does it mean spinners of this variety necessarily succeed in T20? “I don’t think you can read too much into it,” he replied. “Leg-spinners are attacking bowlers, they always look for wickets. Probably people have figured out how to bowl in this format, which is why the scores have come down a little bit as well,” Kumble explained.

“It has also to do with the wickets getting a little slower. If you look at it, barring that brilliant innings by McCullum, all batsmen have struggled, especially in Bangalore.”

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