Former India pacer Ashish Nehra made his debut in international cricket at a time when the Indian team was full of world-class players who went on to become some of the biggest legends in the game. The likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh were few of the names who were already present in the team when Ashish Nehra got his first breakthrough in the team.
And he recently named his pick for India’s greatest match-winner with the ball. The former India international named his former teammate Anil Kumble as India’s greatest match-winner with the ball. Well, Kumble is widely regarded as the country’s greatest match-winner thanks to his stunning exploits with the ball.
With 619 Test wickets, Kumble is India’s leading wicket-taker in Tests, and third overall before Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan. He became only the second bowler in history after England’s Jim Laker to take all 10 wickets in an innings, where he ran through the Pakistan batting order to finish with stunning figures of 10 for 74 in 1999 and also has a Test century to his name which came in England. Kumble is also the only leg-spinner to have become the captain of a team.
“First time I saw him was on television only when Anil Kumble was playing for India,” Ashish Nehra said on the Cricket Connected Show on Star Sports. “He had those huge glasses, but as you keep on playing your face, mannerisms and style keeps changing every 5-6 years. But I would definitely agree that with the ball, he was India’s biggest match-winner.”
Former Australia speedster Brett Lee also recalled when he saw Kumble for the first time on TV. The Australian legend recalled how he felt Kumble resembled a ‘university student’ before he lavished praise on the former India skipper.
“When he first started playing cricket, a bit like [Daniel] Vettori with the glasses on, a bit like a university student with the look with the glasses,” Lee said. “He looked a bit shy and timid but 619 wickets later, 130-odd Tests, a legend of the game but a legend of a guy.”