Former Australian captain Steve Waugh believes legendary leg-spinner Anil Kumble was like the 'Rahul Dravid' of India's bowling attack. The 55-year-old said so because India could always depend on Kumble to take wickets when they 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.
Speaking to cricket.com.au, Steve Waugh explained why Anil Kumble was a special bowler.
"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.
Kumble loved playing against Australia; he is the highest wicket-taker in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with 111 wickets to his name. 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.
Playing for the country was everything for Anil Kumble: Steve Waugh
Steve Waugh said he never played against anyone who was as passionate to play for his country as Anil Kumble was. The 50-year-old always took pride in playing for India and gave it his all, no matter the situation.
The former Australian captain also shed light on how 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 batsmen in the air. If there was any help from the surface, Anil Kumble would exploit it 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 went on to captain the Indian team towards the 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.
Anil Kumble's record spoke for itself. But more importantly, he was also a great ambassador and believed in playing the game in the right spirit.Published 13 Jan 2021, 09:29 IST