‘Was fortunate I had Sachin, Ganguly, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag at nets,’ says Anil Kumble
337 wickets in 271 ODIs. 619 wickets in 132 Tests. These are statistics of an absolute legend of the sport, former India spinner Anil Kumble. Kumble, till now, is the leading wicket-takers for India in both Tests and the ODIs. The right-arm spinner is also the only Indian to have taken 10-wickets in an innings, a record he achieved in a Test match against Pakistan at Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi. But did Kumble ever faced a batsman he found difficult to bowl at?
Former Zimbabwe speedster Pommie Mbangwa asked the same question to Kumble in an Instagram Live interaction. In his reply, Kumble said that fortunately for him, most of the best batsmen at the time - Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag - played for India.
“There were a lots of them. But fortunately, most of the best batsmen of the time were part of my team. It was good that I had Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly Laxman, Sehwag... all these guys in the nets, rather than thinking the previous evening that ‘oh, I have to bowl to these guys in a match’,” Kumble said.
The off-spinner, though, singled out Brian Lara as someone he found the most difficult to bowl at. “So, that was very special. But then, there were many batsmen who have been very difficult to bowl at. Brian Lara was probably at the top,” he said.
“He had four different shots to every delivery that you bowled and that was the biggest challenge, you thought you could beat him, you would get him but then he would change his shot and sort of tap you through third man,” he added.
Kumble, who has represented India in 132 Tests and 272 ODIs and also captained the side between 2007 and 2008. He also went on to become India coach in 2016, but resigned from the position a year later after India lost the Champions Trophy final in 2017 against Pakistan.