One of the finest bowlers to have graced the gentleman's game, Anil Kumble, turned 48 on October 17. The Indian spin-bowling legend during his 18 year-long career, had raised the bar so high with his outstanding displays, that no bowler in today's time can ever match his brilliance.
Jumbo, as he is fondly called because of his height, is India's highest wicket-taker with 619 wickets to his name and is the third bowler in the world behind Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan (800 wickets) and Australia's Shane Warne (708 wickets).
Known to be an unorthodox bowler by style, many thought that Anil Kumble didn't spin the ball too much. However, the numbers speak for themselves as the right-arm leg-spinner turned out to be India's match-winner on many occasions, even though he belonged to the generation of the famed 'Fab-Four' which comprised of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman.
Anil Kumble not only played an important role to Team India's success, but also inspired a generation with his bowling exploits and humble attitude. So as the Indian bowling legend celebrates his birthday today, let's take a look at some of the best moments from his career.
The iconic Ferozeshah Kotla Stadium in Delhi bore witness to this tremendous feat. It happened during the second Test of the series between the arch-rivals. India was already trailing 1-0 and were desperate to bounce back. The hosts got off the right note by posting 252 runs in the first innings. The Indian bowlers did exceptionally well to bundle out Pakistan for 172 runs. India came and batted out the entire third day to post a target for 420 for the visitors. However, Anil Kumble was in no mood to rest as he stepped into the action immediately after lunch. The Indian bowler claimed 10 wickets in the second innings, giving away only 74 runs. By doing so, he became only the second player after Jim Laker to achieve that feat.
Perhaps one of the most memorable moments from Anil Kumble's career. The Indian bowler had broken his jaw from a Merv Dillon delivery while he was batting and was in immense pain. West Indies were looking set for a win and just when the Men in Blue had lost all hope - India's savior rose to the occasion. The bowler walked out of the pavilion with his face bandaged and went on bowl 14 deliveries before picking the prized wicket of Brian Lara. Anil Kumble was expected to fly back to India for a surgery, but he decided to stay back and help his team. The match eventually ended in a draw.
Many were aware what Anil Kumble was capable of doing with a ball, but on one occasion he decided to surprise everyone as he made the bat do the talking. It happened in the final Test between India and England, played at Oval in 2007. It was a historic moment for the Indian cricketer, because it was not only his maiden Test century, but it also came at the time when none of India's front-line batsman managed to score a century during that series.