New Delhi: Chethana, the wife of India’s former leg spinner Anil Kumble, thought he was ‘probably joking’ when the Indian, with a bandaged face and broken jaw, decided to challenge Brian Lara at the Antigua test in 2002. Kumble rates Lara as one of the hardest hitters he has played with, as the Prince of Trinidad has three hits for a delivery.
But Lara’s feared reputation wasn’t good enough to stop Kumble producing one of cricket’s bravest acts as he dispatched 14 consecutive overs and dismissed the batting legend with a wired jaw. “I told my wife, Chetna, and I called her. When we spoke, I said, listen, I know I have to go home because I just need an intervention So she organized it all in Bangalore.
“…And when I picked up the call, I just told her I was going to go bowling, but she thought I was probably joking,” Kumble recalled during an interview with JioCinema.
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“I don’t think she even took it seriously. What does she say?” Kumble added.
“So when I went back to the locker room I saw Sachin (Tendulkar) bowling because he was the only guy in the team who could bowl, then Wavell Hinds, I think he was bowling , I don’t remember anyone else beating,” Kumble said.
“And I thought it was my chance. I have to go and get some wickets. If we can get West Indies three or four down, end of day two or three. I think if you can get them out, then maybe, we have a chance to win the game. That was the only thought. So, I said to Andrew Leipus – get me out.
Anil Kumble – bonafide legend _
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Kumble was due to fly back to Bangalore the next day for surgery, and he said at the time: “At least now I can go home thinking I did my best,” he added .
Battling at No. 7, Kumble was hit by a short ball from Mervyn Dillon. He coughed up blood but continued for another 20 minutes in the fourth test in this series over two decades ago.
Asked about the hardest hitters he had played with in his illustrious career, he picked Lara, Saeed Anwar, Jacques Kallis and Aravinda de Silva, among others. “Well, I think it was good that most of them were on my team. Imagine bowling Sachin, Rahul, Saurav, Viru, Laxman, all those guys in one game. It would have been a nightmare. Jokes aside, I had wonderful hitters that I played against,” he said.
“Aravinda de Silva was a badass and Brian Lara – he probably had three shots on every ball and he would change. You would think you have it, Kumble said.
On Lara, the only man to score 400 in Test cricket, he continued: “You would feel like you cheated on him and then suddenly you play a shot, which you can’t imagine and when you know he came forward, you beat him, then he was just using pace, then a late cut for four and that was his quality.
“I think in every series you kind of meet a few tough guys who are kind of tough. Jacques Kallis was someone who never, ever gave his wicket. Inzi (Inzamam-Ul-Haq) was really tough. Then I want to say some of the lefties were really – Hayden was a big guy. We knew taking him out LBW was out of the equation,” said the former India captain.
The Indian team begins a two-game Test series with the first test against the West Indies in Dominica starting on Wednesday.