Steve Waugh, former Australian skipper believes legendary leg-spinner Anil Kumble was like the ‘Rahul Dravid’ of India’s bowling attack. The 55-year-old Australian said so because India could always depend on leg spinner Anil Kumble to take wickets when the team needed them the most.
Anil Kumble is arguably the best leg-spinner India have ever produced, especially in Test cricket. He is the highest wicket-taker for India in the longest format of the game, with 619 scalps to his name.
Steve Waugh: Anil Kumble Was A Fierce Competitor And Was A Bit Like Batsman Rahul Dravid Of Bowling Lineup
Steve Waugh explained why Anil Kumble was a special bowler while speaking to cricket.com.au.
“He (Anil Kumble) was a fierce competitor. He was always at you and never gave you an inch. I can’t remember him bowling poorly against us. He was a bit like Dravid of their bowling lineup. The captain knew what they were going to get from him. He was there all the time,” Steve Waugh said.
Anil Kumble loved playing against Australia as he is the highest wicket-taker in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with 111 wickets to his name in 20 Tests averaging 30.32. His best figures of 8-141 against Australia came in the 2004 Sydney Test, where he almost single-handedly won the game for the visitors.
Steve Waugh said Anil Kumble wore his heart on his sleeve and gave his all for Team India as playing for the country was everything for him. A right-arm leg spin (leg break googly) bowler, he took 619 wickets in Test cricket and remains the third-highest wicket-taker of all time (behind Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne).
In 1999 while playing against Pakistan, he dismissed all ten batsmen in a Test match innings, joining England’s Jim Laker as the only player to achieve the feat. He is also the only Indian player to have done that till date. Unlike his contemporaries, he was not a big turner of the ball but relied primarily on pace, bounce, and accuracy.
Anil Kumble announced his retirement from international cricket mid-way through the 3rd Test of the series in the Delhi Test alongside Sourav Ganguly who bid the game goodbye in the Nagpur 4th Test.
Steve Waugh Observed Anil Kumble Enjoyed Playing For India And Australia Played Him More Like A Slow In Swing Bowler
Steve Waugh said he never played against anyone as passionate to play for his country as Anil Kumble was. The 50-year-old former spinner always took pride in playing for India and gave his all, irrespective of the situation. The former Australian captain Steve Waugh also shed light on the way Anil Kumble depended more on his variations, as he didn’t spin the ball much.
“I don’t think I played anyone who enjoyed playing for the country as much as he (Anil Kumble) did. It was everything to him. We certainly didn’t play him as a leg-spinner. We played him more like a slow in-swing bowler,” Steve Waugh observed.
The leg-spinner used to vary his pace and deceive the opposition batsmen in the air. Anil Kumble would exploit if there was any help from the pitch and make life difficult for the batsmen.
“He had a great change of pace. It was all about variations, use of the crease. He sort of mixed it up a bit. Anything in the wicket like a bit of rough or unevenness, and he was more than a handful,” Steve Waugh further added.
Anil Kumble even went on to captain the Indian team towards the fag end or twilight of his career and was the head coach of the Men in Blue for a brief period too. His leadership attributes proved crucial in Team India winning the historic Perth Test in the 2007-08 Border-Gavaskar Trophy.