Indian cricket team coach Anil Kumble is celebrating his 46th birthday today. The legendary spinner had an illustrious career spanning over 18 years in which he took 619 Test wickets, the most by an Indian, and 337 ODI wickets.
Nicknamed as 'Jumbo', the leg-spinner made his ODI debut at the age of 19 in the year 1990 against Sri Lanka and made his Test debut in the same year against England. On this memorable day, let us look at some of the memorable moments from the former Indian captain's legendary career.
#1 Coming on to bowl with a broken jaw in Antigua, West Indies
May 14th, 2012 - It was the final day of the fourth Test match between India and West Indies at Antigua. The West Indian batsmen were looking solid and there was nothing that the Indian bowlers could do.
At a time when the Indian fans had lost hope, Anil Kumble appeared from the Pavilion with a broken jaw and a bandage over his head. He went on to bowl 14 continuous overs before picking up the wicket of the well set Brian Lara. Kumble had suffered a broken jaw from a Merv Dillon delivery while he was batting.
While he was scheduled to return to India for a surgery, the spinner decided to stay and help his team out. The match eventually ended in a draw. The incident still stands out to be one of the inspiring stories in the cricketing world.
#2 10 wickets vs Pakistan in Delhi
Anil Kumble achieved the historic feat of grabbing all ten wickets in an innings against archrivals Pakistan at Delhi's Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium in the second Test match of the two-match Test series in February 1999. India went into the match already 1-0 down and were eager to win the match and level the series.
The match started off with a jitter as India scored just 252 in their first innings. But the bowlers did really well in restricting the rivals to 172 runs. The hosts then batted out the third day and set Pakistan a target of 420. However, Jumbo seemed to be in no mood to relax as he started his mission-10 right after lunch. He ended up with the figures of 10 for 74 making him only the second player to take 10 wickets in an innings after Jim Laker.
(Video courtesy: Jitendra verma YouTube channel)
#3 600th Test wicket in Perth, Australia
India were playing the Australians in the third Test at Perth in January 2008. The stage was set for Kumble as everyone was expecting him to reach the magic mark of 600 Test wickets since he was just one wicket short of reaching the elite club consisting of Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne.
While his 400th and 500th wicket came at home, in Bangalore and Mohali respectively, his 600th was achieved on a hot day in Perth. Coming on to bowl in the 28th over, on a pitch more suited to pace than spin, he was smashed for ten runs in his first over before returning to undo Andrew Symonds with some extra bounce.
After some loud consistent appeals, Kumble caught Symonds edging one to Rahul Dravid. The feat was achieved. Indians were rejoicing and Kumble had his fists clenched punching the air. The moment still remains to be a memorable one for all the Indian fans.
#4 Maiden Test hundred at The Oval, England
Kumble registered his maiden and only Test hundred of his career on 10th August 2007 against England at Oval in the third Test. It was one of cricket's romantic moments, a popular hero achieving a milestone that appeared to be evading him in an 18-year-old career.
Kumble started his innings by playing second fiddle to Mahendra Singh Dhoni. However, he went on to make 50 off 109 balls. He continued to stay calm at the other end as wickets kept falling at a slow but steady rate. He finally achieved the milestone when a Kevin Pietersen delivery found the edge of his bat and went between the legs of the wicket-keeper. The entire Indian team stood in the balcony cheering for their legendary spinner who had another glorious match, though this time with the bat.
#5 Final Test at Feroze Shah Kotla stadium, Delhi
The 'Jumbo' finally decided to hang his boots midway through the home series against Australia in November 2008 at Delhi. It was fitting for the legend to retire at the venue where he wrote his name in history back in 1999 by becoming the first India bowler to pick up 10 wickets in an innings.
Kumble had suffered a cut on his finger during the match and the 38-year old felt that it would be wise to step down rather than going into the final Test with the injury.
The leggie announced his retirement on the final day of the Test match. The Indian team took Kumble in for a final lap of his career, when they carried him around the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium on their shoulders.