Sunday, February 25, 2024

‘Kumble still the best’

Despite a below par show in Sri Lanka, former spin greats say Indian Test captain Anil Kumble is still the best bowler in the team.
Spin great Bishen Bedi dismisses any talk of Kumble’s dip in form as simply ‘ridiculous’.
“I have seen a lot of Indian bowlers over the years and for me, Kumble is the best ever. It is ridiculous for people to question his performances,” Bedi said.
“He is still India’s strike bowler and the best bowler. It is a fact of life that Kumble has grown a little old now and his performance has dipped but he is still a deadly bowler. You just have to rewind to earlier this year and you can see that Kumble was troubling the Aussie batsmen in their own backyard,” said the former captain when asked whether the Karnataka leg-spinner was still a threat to opposition batsmen. Another spin great Erapalli Prasnna felt that a lot will depend on Kumble if India had to win the forthcoming Test series against Australia against whom the Indian captain has a fantastic record having taken 108 wickets from 18 Tests.
“This is the weakest Australian batting line-up that has ever traveled to India. It is advantageous for Kumble that he does not have to bowl at top-quality batsmen of spin bowling. A lot depends on how well he fares and the series will be won or loss on that,” said Prasanna.
“He is old but is still extremely consistent with his line and length. You cannot expect a champion bowler like him to perform forever. He is ageing and his role has also changed. In the 90s, he was the only strike bowler that India had but the scenario has changed recently. However I still feel that a lot depends on him,” Prasanna said.
How much the burden of captaincy has affected Kumble’s performance? Bedi would think it has done wonders.
“Captaincy has done wonders to his career. His greatest strength is his discipline, dedication, attitude and approach towards his game and the sport in general. There is nobody in the last two decades who has matched Sachin Tendulkar in terms of performance. That itself is a great compliment for the man,” said Bedi.
Prasanna said even at 38 Kumble has still got the fire to take on the best of the batsmen and he would not think that “jumbo” would think of quitting after the home Test series against Australia.
“I don’t think so (retirement). Watching him bowl recently, I think he has still got a lot of fire in him. He is not playing for records either. I think captaincy has motivated him even more and he is very determined to do well against Australia,” said Prasanna.
Bedi feels that the question of retirement should be best left to Kumble.
“He (Kumble) is the man at the helm, the man in charge and knows when to carry on till. Knowing him I know for a fact that he is not prolonging his career. Even after 18 years with the team, Kumble still feels that he has a lot to offer to the country and that is why he is hanging around. My only concern is that Kumble should retire on his own terms,” he said.

More articles